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Returning to Physical Activity after COVID-19 Infection

With tens of thousands of covid-19 cases being diagnosed in Australia every day, it’s becoming more and more likely you will eventually be diagnosed with covid. So, what does this mean for your exercise routine, and are there any guidelines around returning to physical activity following a covid-19 infection?

What are the risks of exercising with and after covid-19 infection?

There is still limited research on the recovery from covid-19, however a common complication identified in both literature and in practice is the risk of cardiac injury, in particular a condition called viral myocarditis. Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle, which causes weakness and can reduce its’ ability to pump blood around the body.  Another complication of covid-19 is the formation of blood clots in the body, in particular the lungs, increasing the risk of blood flow being compromised. Although these complications are both rare, exercising (particularly at higher intensities) with either of these complications can increase the risk of further cardiac injury or sudden cardiac death.

How do you know if you can safely return to exercise without a screening?

Most people who have had mild illness and were not hospitalised can return to low intensity exercise after seven days without any symptoms. Individuals who were hospitalised during their illness should seek advice from their doctor before commencing exercise. If a person has any new or persisting symptoms such as chest pain, severe shortness of breath or palpitations they should also seek advice from a doctor.

If unsure about how to return to exercise safely, book in with an Accredited Exercise Physiologist who are trained to screen for exercise contraindications and will refer on if they feel further follow up is indicated. Exercise Physiologists will help you get back on your feet by developing an individualised exercise program, starting slow and gradually increasing intensity, duration and frequency as appropriate.

To book an appointment with one of our Exercise Physiologists, email or call (02) 6299 3886.


Returning to physical activity after covid-19. Salman D. et al. 2021

Returning to physical activity after covid-19. Exercise is Medicine, ACSM. 2021.