Can I exercise with Covid? Should you do any physical workouts during coronavirus recovery - latest guidance

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Common Covid health problems may affect how well you can exercise

If you’ve got Covid-19, or are recovering from the virus, you may be wondering if you are able to exercise.

But can you exercise with Covid-19 and does it help with recovery?

Here’s what you need to know.

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Can I exercise with Covid?

If you are suffering with symptoms of Covid-19, such as coughing and subsequent shortness of breath, you may feel that you want to rest while you have the virus.

However, if you are recovering from Covid, although it is normal to feel tired, weak or short of breath, being active can help you to recover quicker, according to the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

If you feel more tired and have less energy than usual, this is normal and may last for up to six to eight weeks, but taking your time and setting small goals can help.

The NHS ‘Your Covid Recovery’ page said that after a period of illness and inactivity  “your muscles will be much weaker than normal and you will certainly be less fit than you were”.

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However, it noted that “it is important to get back to your previous level of activity or possibly aim to be more active”.

What are common Covid-19 recovery problems when it comes to exercise?

Common Covid health problems may affect how well you can exercise.

These include:

  • breathlessness
  • phlegm - this can depend on how you were affected by the virus
  • extreme tiredness (fatigue) and a lack of energy
  • muscle weakness and joint stiffness

If you’re wanting to get back into exercise while recovering from coronavirus, you should aim to increase your activities slowly.

“Regular exercise is good for you but keep in mind that it will take you time to get back to your normal activities,” the HSE said.

You should:

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  • start slowly and introduce new activities gradually
  • set yourself realistic targets each week
  • rest when you feel tired

If you feel breathless it is important to monitor your breathlessness when you exercise. You should exercise at a level where you are slightly out of breath but still able to talk.

If you are unable to leave your home you should still include some exercise in your daily routine where possible.

Can I go outside to exercise if I have Covid?

If you are self-isolating due to Covid-19, you should exercise indoors or outside in your garden, but not in outdoor public spaces or in gyms.

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