According to a study, individuals suffering from long COVID are not getting consistent advice on how to return to physical activities. The study revealed that many health care experts were recommending that levels of physical activity should be gradually increased, but the researchers caution that this could cause symptoms to get worse.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
They said the return to exercise should instead be paced, and individuals should be encouraged to do enough to remain within their energy reserves to avoid causing a symptom flare-up. Although physical activity likely plays a role in helping with long COVID recovery, a delicate balance needs to be found between too much and not enough activity.
Almost 500 individuals with long COVID who had been suffering from the condition for over a year on average were surveyed for the study.
75% of them said that physical activity worsened their symptoms, 20% reported that physical activity at times improved symptoms and at times worsened symptoms, and 1% said it improved symptoms, with the remainder reporting no effect. Many of the participants said their mental health and well-being improved when they could be active.
The physical activity and long COVID relationship isn't comparable to other long-term conditions with regards to more activity isn't always beneficial in long COVID, and a carefully planned and structured program should be implemented to become active again.
On the other hand, long COVID individuals who are inactive are at risk of other chronic health issues like depression, cardiovascular disease, and a reduction in quality of life.
The information sources that long COVID individuals received regarding resuming physical activity were examined. Slightly less than half of them had been advised by a health care specialist.
The 2nd most popular type of advice was for individuals to follow a graded exercise program, where activity is increased incrementally to improve exercise tolerance. The researchers said that some individuals risk doing too much, too soon with graded exercise therapy.
The 4th most popular type of advice, which is the recommended type of therapy in the majority of long COVID cases, was a paced return to exercise.
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