Study finds intense exercise safe for those with long Covid

A recent study published in JAMA Network Open examined the effects of different types of exercise on individuals diagnosed with long Covid, also known as post Covid condition. The study included 31 patients with long Covid who were matched with a control group of 31 healthy participants. These participants completed strength training, high-intensity interval training, and moderate-intensity continuous training over several weeks.

The study found that individuals with long Covid did not experience any significant worsening of symptoms or negative effects on their bodies during the 48 hours following exercise sessions. However, those who participated in high-intensity interval training reported more muscle pain, while moderate-intensity continuous training was associated with concentration problems and muscle inflammation.

Researchers noted that individuals with long Covid generally had lower levels of fitness and muscle strength, likely due to the infection and decreased activity. Despite concerns about postexertional malaise, where symptoms worsen after physical exertion, the study found that exercise did not have a detrimental impact on participants with long Covid.

The World Health Organization has advised individuals with long Covid to avoid intense exercise due to concerns about exacerbating symptoms. However, the researchers emphasized the importance of physical activity in rehabilitation programs for these patients, as inactivity can lead to functional impairment and increased risk of cardiometabolic disease in the long term.

While the study provides valuable insights into the effects of exercise on individuals with long Covid, researchers acknowledged that more research is needed to fully understand the factors contributing to exercise intolerance in this population. By closely monitoring participants during exercise sessions and measuring key physiological parameters, the study offers a promising starting point for further investigation into the role of exercise in the management of long Covid.


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