People can be hesitant in returning to exercise post Covid-19 infection. Follow these simple guidelines as you return to your normal exercise routine and start improving your overall health.

Returning to Exercise Post Covid-19 Infection

There is no doubt that the last 2.5 years have been challenging for most, however I think we can all agree that getting outside of the house for some activity was something we all looked forward to and something we have continued as part of our routine since coming out of lockdowns.

What is Covid-19?
  • Covid-19 is respiratory disease that usually affects individuals mildly, however in some instances it can cause severe illness
  • In some cases, there are chronic, ongoing complications post-infection which can include fatigue, brain fog, breathing difficulties and inflammation of the heart muscle.

We know as a society that exercise is very important for us and a lot of us enjoy participating in some form of exercise whether it be recreationally or competitively. It is important for us to return to our exercise routine post Covid-19 infection however it must be done gradually and based on a risk assessment according to our symptoms.

With reference to recently published guidelines (adapted from (1)), we should:

  • Rest for 10 days from the onset of symptoms/diagnosis
  • Be symptom free for a minimum of 7 days
  • Off all medication and treatments (such as Panadol)

Prior to commencing a graduated return to play/exercise protocol.

The graduated return to exercise is broken down into five phases with the recommendation of staying in each phase for at least 7 days prior to entering the next phase. If you are having any difficulty or symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, or chest pain in any of the stages you should cease the activity and seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Each of the FIVE PHASES recommended activities are outlined below (1,2,3):

  • Walking
  • Normal activities of daily living (e.g., doing the washing and dishes)


PHASE TWO – duration of 15 minutes
  • Walking
  • Light jogging
  • Stationary cycling
  • No resistance training


PHASE THREE – duration of 30 – 45 minutes
  • Progression to normal training activities
  • Can add in resistance training at light intensity


PHASE FOUR – duration of 60 minutes
  • Normal training activities
  • Higher intensity drills
  • Increasing resistance


PHASE FIVE – return to normal exercise
  • Return to pre-COVID exercise routine


Returning to your exercise routine after a COVID-19 infection can seem daunting, but it is important to get back into the swing of things as soon as possible. These simple guidelines, you can ease back into your routine and feel comfortable getting active again.

We hope this has helped you create a plan for getting back to what you enjoy doing post COVID-19 infection, and hopefully you will be back to doing all the physical activity and exercise you love before you know it!

If you have any questions or need help getting started, please don’t hesitate to book an appointment with our physio’s who can help you plan your return to exercise.

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*Disclaimer: This is not individual health advice and always consult your general practitioner prior to engaging in physical activity if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.