Heike Steinert fights Long Covid with sport

Long-Covid – Diagnosis is devastating to many people. A group at St. Elisabeth Hospital in Gutersloh is fighting against this.

Gutersloh (gl) – “Today is a good day,” says Heike Steinert and smiles convinced. She has energy and comfort in her body. The woman with blond braids in tracksuits stands in the gym at Sankt Elisabeth Hospital in Gutterslow and exchanges a few words with her therapist, Barbara Kramer. The exercises were tough, but she mastered it. Training elevates Steinert even further. It’s not certain if she’ll have a good day again at the upcoming Long Covid rehab event.

A long road with setbacks and successes

After surviving a coronavirus infection in November 2020, Steinert is still unable to fully rely on her body, Sankt Elisabeth Hospital reports. The fact that she’s performing so well again today has been a long journey full of setbacks and successes.

A look back: When 54-year-old Steinhagenren contracted the coronavirus, there was no vaccine. Perhaps, Steinert speculates, according to the report, her body would have adapted better to the virus with an immunization if she had not had long-term symptoms. She was seriously ill for three and a half weeks. Moderate course without hospitalization with symptoms such as fever and sore throat.

‘Doctors were puzzled’

Returning to her job as an HR officer after six weeks, there was a severe setback. “The doctors on the site were confused, and so was I,” Steinert recalls. No one knew about the now more common clinical picture of Long Covid. On the contrary: she felt that she was not taken seriously and described as a hypochondriac. Heike Steinert experienced severe shortness of breath, her lungs were attacked and the volume dropped, Sankt Elisabeth Hospital reports.

Bullet fatigue, severe hair loss, and a rash similar to neurodermatitis caused additional problems. Not feeling like herself anymore, her four-week rehab session at Four Island brought the realization: “I’m really sick. I can’t imagine my symptoms,” Steinert says. It was a relief to finally be taken seriously.

Participant in the first hour

Outdoor exercises, more information about Long-Covid and discussions with experts helped. On a North Sea island, she was recommended to join an athletic group for lung rehabilitation. However, back home, there were almost no performances. When the Long-Covid lung gymnastics group began in the physical therapy department at Sankt-Elisabeth-Hospital in September 2021, Steinert was one of the first to participate.

Repair damage to the lungs

Since then, Heike Steinert has been coming to Barbara Kramer’s training session every Monday. The therapist specializes in lung sports. Her program includes upper body toning, strengthening and body awareness exercises. Corona disease can cause permanent damage to the lungs and airways. Targeted exercises help with this. “Regular training is important,” advises Barbara Kramer. Heike Steinert is slowly returning to the old competence zone. It is also possible to take hiking tours in South Tyrol – meanwhile on good days mostly.

Participants need a prescription for rehab sports from their doctor. There are places available on the course. Register under the number 05241/5077260 or by email at pt@sankt-elisabeth-hospital.de.

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