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COVID-19 recovered surfer speaks about his comeback story

Daniel is a 45-year-old surfer from Sweden, who has been surfing for more than 25 years and has competed for the national team. As a big wave surfer, Daniel has always had a great need for a big lung capacity.
 
In November 2020 Daniel’s life was put on pause as he got Covid and went into the hospital, where his blood oxygen saturation was measured as low as just 77%.

“Eventually, I went into the hospital, and I had 77% oxygen level. They sent me to the ER, and I stayed there for 24 hours, where they checked me and put me on Covid surveillance. When I got out, I was struggling.”

THE PROFILE:

Name: Daniel
Age: 45
Family status: Married, has two young children (one and a half y.o and seven y.o.)
Occupation: Vice-president of business development. A surfer with 25+ years of surfing experience; was competing in the national team.
Hobbies and sports activities: Surfing, skiing, trail running, open water swimming, paddle boarding, mountain biking.
Condition: COVID-19

For around 25 years Daniel has been a surfer competing in the national team. At 45 years of age, he still travels the world for surfing, and still has a great need for a big lung capacity:

“I used to surf pretty big waves, and I have been practicing some apnea training. And I know that if I can hold my breath for a couple of minutes, it would help me to get a lot more relaxed while surfing big waves, which is very important. So I saw Airofit as sort of a shortcut to improve my lung capacity for that reason. And I thought if I can improve my lung capacity by 10%, that would improve my overall endurance, especially for surfing.” 

The Covid story

Most people who get COVID-19 make a full recovery, often within a few weeks. Serious cases of COVID can take a month or longer to completely resolve. Daniel got COVID in fall 2021. 

“I got Covid in November. In the beginning I felt that it was like a strange flu, and it stayed for around seven days. But halfway through I could feel that it went down to my lungs. I had pneumonia a couple of years ago, so I knew how bad it could be...
 
Eventually I went into the hospital, and I had 77% oxygen level. Immediately they sent me to the ER, where I stayed for 24 hours. I didn't get oxygen, but they checked me and put me on Covid surveillance. When I got out of the hospital I was in quarantine, and I was struggling.

I was very weak, and I couldn't really do much. And then when I started going outside of the quarantine, I could barely walk 500 meters, and I was so tired... Sweating. And I was just exhausted. Like I've been running 10 kilometers, really fast by walking 500 meters very slowly. My body wasn't working at all.” 

Daniel's Airofit journey

Before trying Airofit, Daniel hadn't used any similar breathing training devices, however, he has done some meditation, apnea training and Wim Hof breathing exercises.

“When I realized that I got all the side-effects of Covid, which I was reading about earlier, I was happy to try anything that could get me back to surfing. For normal people, it's about getting back to life, but for me - I wouldn’t feel comfortable going back into surfing if I couldn’t hold my breath properly. I haven’t surfed since then. I can't say that I'm scared, but I'm concerned.”

Daniel started using Airofit at the beginner level and at one-minute training. 

“In the beginning I was struggling to get up at 100% or even at 80% while doing some exercises. But then I improved pretty quickly and at around Christmas time I already switched to expert level.”

After some training with Airofit, Daniel felt that he was not back to normal yet, but he could do different sports activities. He could ride a bicycle, and he went skiing in December and January:

“We were on Christmas holiday with my kids. And I should say that I wasn't exhausted, but I was still breathing heavily. A couple of weeks later, I went skiing with some friends. We went off-piste skiing, to be more precise. I was filming a lot, and I could hear from the footage that my breath was extremely laboured the whole time. So I understood that I was not back where I was before. But I am definitely improving myself, and I'm going to continue doing Airofit training, even when I feel I'm good because I want to get back to surfing as before.”

Daniel’s current regular training session runs for about three or four minutes, and he is doing it several times a day. Normally he trains one or two times a day. Throughout his training Daniel has done the anaerobic threshold, the vital lung capacity, and respiratory strength programs. He also did some other single exercises.

While going through the number of fluctuations all in all Daniels AVLC shows a positive increasing trend through his respiratory training with Airofit through the December 2020 - March 2021 period. At the end of December Daniel’s AVLC was equal to 3.6 liters, while in March Daniel’s VLC was already equal to 4.8 liters. This means he has increased his VLC by 33%.

Benefits of Airofit and RMT training for people who have suffered from COVID-19

Recent studies have shown that respiratory muscle training (RMT) is the most relevant method to resist the severe consequences of a COVID-19 infection and that the training is relevant both before, during, and after an infection.  

During infection:

In the International physiotherapy guidelines concerning Management for COVID-19 in the Acute Hospital Setting, it is recommended that you practice airway clearance techniques which include a variety of different exercises.

You can perform active breathing cycles (also guided by the app) in order to clear your airways. In addition to this, you can utilize the Airofit app to help you to provide high pressure (inflation) to your airways. This means that you practice holding your breath with full lungs - which is something that our ‘Anaerobic Threshold’ training sessions cover.

Since Airofit focuses on both inspiratory and expiratory pressure, we have one of the only breathing trainers available to help our users to train expiratory strength, which breathing experts have developed into training sessions of our app. 

During rehabilitation:

A recent randomized controlled trial by Liu et al. from April 2020, performed on COVID-19 patients in the rehabilitation phase, has shown that inspiratory and expiratory muscle training as part of a COVID-19 rehabilitation significantly improves respiratory function, quality of life, and reduced anxiety.

This suggests that by training both inspiratory and expiratory muscle strength, you can effectively improve your covid-19 rehabilitation, which was absolutely crucial in the case of Daniel:

“I remember one doctor mentioned to me that those kinds of tools (*respiratory trainers) could be worth trying to get the breathing back after Covid. And I have a friend who is the Head Doctor at one of the hospitals here in Stockholm. And she said that Airofit is known in that area (*respiratory training). So it actually works.” - says Daniel.

*Always consult your doctor before making the decision to train with Airofit as part of your recovery process

Airofit training suggestions for COVID-19:

To obtain the necessary muscle strength, suggested Airofit workout is composed as follows:
2 times 5 min a day for 8 weeks consisting of:

Session percentage of all sessions

  • INHALE STRENGTH 40%
  • EXHALE STRENGTH 20% 
  • CIRCLE 20% 
  • SQUARE 20%  

One of the daily sessions should always be an inhale strength or circle.

Weekly sessions

  • Week 1-2- Train on Beginner level for the first 2 weeks, for muscular and neural adaptation.
  • Week 3-6 - Train on Intermediate for building strength.
  • Week 7- Try gradually adapting training on Expert level.
  • Week 8 - Train on Expert level.
  • Week 9 -Continuous maintenance training must amount to min. 5 minutes per day

Summary:

Breathing exercises can strengthen the lungs and may be beneficial for reducing the impact of COVID-19 before, during, and after it hits. COVID prophylactic, recovery from mechanical ventilation, rehabilitation process as well as management of long Covid symptoms - all these areas can be successfully aided by the practicing regular breath-work and respiratory muscle training (RMT).

Just like Daniel, there are many men and women in the world, who have struggled and fought COVID-19, and are currently paving their way towards recovery while using different recovery strategies.

Training with Airofit is focusing on exercising your respiratory muscles, therefore it is a perfect tool for men and women of all ages to help them rebuild their lung capacity and manage the breathlessness due to COVID-19, COPD, asthma and other conditions affecting breathing.

#StayABreathAhead