COVID-19 and Exercise: What You Need to Know

2 min read
COVID-19 and Exercise: What You Need to Know
2023 Aug 16Movement

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, fitness and well-being have become more important than ever. However, the virus has also raised many questions about safe exercise practices, particularly for those who have contracted the virus or are recovering from it. This article aims to provide clarity on the relationship between COVID-19 and exercise, addressing common concerns like whether it's okay to exercise with COVID and what precautions should be taken.

Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on Physical Activity

The pandemic has significantly altered the landscape of physical activity, with lockdowns and social distancing measures leading to gym closures and limited outdoor activity. This shift has emphasized the importance of finding safe and effective ways to exercise during these challenging times.

The Benefits of Exercise During the Pandemic

Despite the constraints, maintaining a regular exercise routine during the pandemic is crucial. Exercise boosts the immune system, improves mental health, and helps manage stress and anxiety, which are particularly prevalent during these uncertain times. It also plays a key role in managing weight and preventing chronic diseases, which can be exacerbated by prolonged periods of inactivity.

The Risks Associated with COVID-19 and Exercise

While exercise is beneficial, it's important to consider the risks, especially for those who have COVID-19. Exercising with COVID-19, particularly in the acute phase or if symptoms are severe, can be dangerous. It can exacerbate symptoms and lead to more severe health complications, including cardiovascular issues.

Guidelines for Exercising with COVID-19

The question of whether it's okay to exercise with COVID-19 is complex. The answer largely depends on the severity of the symptoms and the stage of the illness.

Mild Cases and Exercise

For those with mild symptoms of COVID-19, such as a slight cough or a mild fever, light exercise might be acceptable. However, it's crucial to listen to your body and avoid strenuous activities. Gentle forms of exercise like walking or mild stretching can be beneficial but should be approached with caution.

Severe Cases Require Rest

If the symptoms are moderate to severe, including high fever, persistent cough, or shortness of breath, it's important to rest and avoid exercise. Engaging in physical activity under these conditions can be harmful and may delay recovery.

Post-COVID Recovery and Returning to Exercise

Post-COVID recovery varies from person to person. Some may bounce back quickly, while others may experience lingering symptoms, commonly referred to as 'long COVID'. Understanding how and when to return to exercise after recovering from COVID-19 is crucial.

Gradual Return to Physical Activity

After recovering from COVID-19, a gradual return to exercise is recommended. Starting with low-intensity activities and gradually increasing intensity can help the body to adjust without overstressing the system.

Monitoring Your Body's Response

It's important to monitor your body's response as you return to exercise. Any signs of fatigue, difficulty breathing, or chest pain should be taken seriously, and exercise should be stopped immediately. Consulting with a healthcare provider before resuming intense physical activity is also advisable.


Navigating exercise during the COVID-19 pandemic requires a careful and informed approach. While exercise remains an essential aspect of health and well-being, it's important to consider the impact of COVID-19 on your ability to engage in physical activity safely. Listening to your body, understanding the risks, and taking appropriate precautions are key to maintaining fitness without compromising your health during these unprecedented times.

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