Long COVID & Physical Activity

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It can cause a wide range of symptoms, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Some people who have COVID-19 experience long-term symptoms, even after they have recovered from the acute illness. These symptoms are collectively known as "long COVID" or "post-COVID syndrome."

The implications of long COVID can be significant for some people. They may experience fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, brain fog, and other symptoms that can make it difficult to work, exercise, or participate in other activities. Long COVID can also lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.

Physical activity can play a role in the recovery from long COVID. It can help to improve fatigue, shortness of breath, and other symptoms. 

This web resource provides information on the latest research on long COVID and physical activity. It also includes resources for people with long COVID and their families, as well as for academics and exercise professionals who work with this population.

Potential Discussion Questions

Reading List

Altuna, M., Mª B. Sánchez-Saudinós, and A. Lleó. "Cognitive symptoms after COVID-19." Neurology perspectives 1 (2021): S16-S24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neurop.2021.10.005 

Asadi‐Pooya, A. A., Akbari, A., Emami, A., Lotfi, M., Rostamihosseinkhani, M., Nemati, H., ... & Shahisavandi, M. (2022). Long COVID syndrome‐associated brain fog. Journal of medical virology, 94(3), 979-984. https://doi.org/10.1002/jmv.27404 

Chastin, S. F., Abaraogu, U., Bourgois, J. G., Dall, P. M., Darnborough, J., Duncan, E., ... & Hamer, M. (2021). Effects of regular physical activity on the immune system, vaccination and risk of community-acquired infectious disease in the general population: systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 51, 1673-1686. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-021-01466-1   [Google Scholar Cited By]

Clemente-Suárez, V. J., Beltrán-Velasco, A. I., Ramos-Campo, D. J., Mielgo-Ayuso, J., Nikolaidis, P. A., Belando, N., & Tornero-Aguilera, J. F. (2022). Physical activity and COVID-19. The basis for an efficient intervention in times of COVID-19 pandemic. Physiology & behavior, 244, 113667. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2021.113667 

Davis, H. E., McCorkell, L., Vogel, J. M., & Topol, E. J. (2023). Long COVID: major findings, mechanisms and recommendations. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41579-022-00846-2 

Durstenfeld, M. S., Sun, K., Tahir, P., Peluso, M. J., Deeks, S. G., Aras, M. A., ... & Hsue, P. Y. (2022). Use of cardiopulmonary exercise testing to evaluate long COVID-19 symptoms in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA network open, 5(10), e2236057-e2236057. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.36057   

Galluzzo, V., Zazzara, M. B., Ciciarello, F., Tosato, M., Martone, A. M., Pais, C., ... & Gemelli Against COVID-19 Post-Acute Care Team. (2023). Inadequate Physical Activity Is Associated with Worse Physical Function in a Sample of COVID-19 Survivors with Post-Acute Symptoms. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 12(7), 2517. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12072517 

Jimeno-Almazán, A., Pallarés, J. G., Buendía-Romero, Á., Martínez-Cava, A., Franco-López, F., Sánchez-Alcaraz Martínez, B. J., ... & Courel-Ibáñez, J. (2021). Post-COVID-19 syndrome and the potential benefits of exercise. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(10), 5329. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105329 

Humphreys, H., Kilby, L., Kudiersky, N., & Copeland, R. (2021). Long COVID and the role of physical activity: a qualitative study. BMJ open, 11(3), e047632. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-047632 

O’Hare, A. M., Vig, E. K., Iwashyna, T. J., Fox, A., Taylor, J. S., Viglianti, E. M., ... & Ioannou, G. N. (2022). Complexity and Challenges of the Clinical Diagnosis and Management of Long COVID. JAMA network open, 5(11), e2240332-e2240332. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.40332   

Salari, N., Khodayari, Y., Hosseinian-Far, A., Zarei, H., Rasoulpoor, S., Akbari, H., & Mohammadi, M. (2022). Global prevalence of chronic fatigue syndrome among long COVID-19 patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis. BioPsychoSocial medicine, 16(1), 21. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13030-022-00250-5 

Sallis, J. F., Adlakha, D., Oyeyemi, A., & Salvo, D. (2023). Public health research on physical activity and COVID-19: Progress and updated priorities. Journal of Sport and Health Science. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jshs.2023.04.002 

Scurati, R., Papini, N., Giussani, P., Alberti, G., & Tringali, C. (2022). The Challenge of Long COVID-19 Management: From Disease Molecular Hallmarks to the Proposal of Exercise as Therapy. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 23(20), 12311. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms232012311 

Shelley, J., Hudson, J., Mackintosh, K. A., Saynor, Z. L., Duckers, J., Lewis, K. E., ... & McNarry, M. A. (2021). ‘I Live a Kind of Shadow Life’: Individual Experiences of COVID-19 Recovery and the Impact on Physical Activity Levels. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(21), 11417. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111417 

Turner, S., Khan, M. A., Putrino, D., Woodcock, A., Kell, D. B., & Pretorius, E. (2023). Long COVID: pathophysiological factors and abnormalities of coagulation. Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, 34(6), 321-344. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tem.2023.03.002 

Wright, J., Astill, S. L., & Sivan, M. (2022). The relationship between physical activity and long COVID: a Cross-Sectional Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(9), 5093. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095093