only me I recently resumed my exercise routine to lose weight at home. ID lost a few good pounds and was in much better shape after using Apple Fitness and other services at home, but a move and other life events got in the way. And now something else has disrupted my health goals: I’ve caught COVID-19.

It’s my first time getting it, so I should consider myself lucky, and although I felt really bad for the first four or five days, although I had all the shots and boosters available, I am gradually returning to normal. But it created another hurdle in my exercise routine, and as I’ve explained before, I’m a creature of habit; once I break a cycle, I often have trouble getting back on track.

So I tried to balance my desire to get back to exercising as soon as possible with the frankly more important issue of giving myself time to fully recover from the virus. While many people are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 to varying degrees, the board remains that it’s important to avoid strenuous activities — or anything that might take your breath away — while recovering, to avoid lung inflammation and the potentially encouraging symptoms of long COVID.

Here’s how I changed my approach.

Image showing a negative Covid-19 lateral flow test.

I didn’t start any serious exercise until I tested negative and no longer had symptoms of COVID-19.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

The first week I really felt the symptoms, of course I stayed home. I almost completely avoided physical activity, and even in the second week, once I started to feel better, I kept moving to a minimum.

After 10 days, I felt much more back to normal, with no major COVID symptoms (my cough was completely gone), and my lateral flow tests came back negative. Still, I felt quite weak and noticed that I felt tired even when walking to nearby stores. But I persevered with these short walks at first. About a mile here and there, gradually increasing the distance.

Image showing a path leading to hillsides.

I started with short local walks, before moving on to longer hikes.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Walking is great exercise because it allows you to go at your own pace, avoiding shortness of breath and adjusting your routes and pace as you feel comfortable. After another week, I found that I felt much more able to do 5-6 mile walks without feeling too tired.

I then felt confident to get things done and move on to my exercise bike. Throughout my fitness journey, I’ve used a Wattbike Atom; a great and comfortable indoor stationary bike that I especially like to use with the Zwift app on my iPad. This has been a real lifesaver for my home workouts and could again give me a great way to gradually increase my activity level safely.

Cycling on the Wattbike Atom static exercise bike.

The Wattbike Atom offers a smooth and comfortable indoor cycling experience.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

As with my walk, I started small; a 20-minute cycle for my first ride, which I found a little too much and was a little wheezy afterwards. So I modified it by still doing 20 minutes, but at a slower pace, increasing both the pace and duration as I progressed. I preferred using the Wattbike at home because it allowed me to stop whenever I felt I had gone too far – if I did it outside on my regular bike I would still have to go home if I felt like I had to stop halfway through the route.

Which brings me to now, about five weeks after COVID really got a hold of me. I’m confident that I feel healthy again and have maintained my desire to continue exercising, rather than letting the break completely derail me like breaks have done for me in the past. I have gained weight since getting married in early April (who of us can say we haven’t gained weight after a wedding?), but I’m glad that my approach to getting back in shape gently allowed me to stay healthy and encourage me on the right path to achieve my goals.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.