24 March 2022

Exercising after having Covid


When can I start exercising again?

How long is a piece of string!!!

As we have all no doubt found, Covid comes in all shapes and sizes. Some of us get it very mildly whilst others feel really not very well at all.  So when it comes to getting back to exercise we have to look at how you are feeling once you are better, any long term effects (long Covid), listening to your body & what sort of exercise you were doing before you got Covid.

“If you return to exercise too soon, you are not allowing your body the strength to fight the virus,” said Jennifer Scherer,  medical exercise specialist.

How badly did you have Covid?

  • No symptoms at all or very mild symptoms  like a cold or tiredness and no heart or lung type symptoms – research from the American College of Cardiology (ACC) says you can get back to exercise gradually 3 – 5 days after you tested positive.  You may still actually find you aren’t quite at the same level as you were before you got Covid.  So listen to your body and taper getting back to your exercising.
  • Mild symptoms – they classify this as having 2 or 3 of the symptoms like a headache, cough or cold like symptoms – you can get back to gentle exercise once you no longer have any symptoms (except smell & taste as this can last for months).  Again it is about listening to the body and taking note how tired you get.  They suggest trying a short, gentle run & see how it affects you a few days after.  Or doing weights – start with a short session and take the weight down.
  • Heart or lung symptoms – these are pretty major when it concerns returning to exercise.  Even with flu or a cold, you always need to take more care when getting back to exercise as it will put added pressure on your heart.  If you had mild heart or lung symptoms like palpitations or a chesty cough then wait until all these symptoms have gone before gently re-introducing exercise.
  • More severe symptoms

Return to exercise slowly & listen to your body

Though it is tempting to start back exercising where you left off before COVID, the ACC guidance recommends a “graded return-to-exercise program.”

“Don’t be surprised if you feel that you have lost some of your cardiovascular endurance or strength gains once you return to your exercise program after having COVID-19,” said Scherer. “This is normal.”

Listen to your body and ease your way back into your exercise.  You will appreciate it in the long run.  Really take note and see how you feel afterwards and the next day.  How does your chest feel?  Are you more tired than usual?

If you’re not sure how to start back then try the 50/30/20/10 rule – which is seen as a safe way to return to training after any prolonged period of inactivity.

You start out by reducing the duration or intensity of your workouts to a maximum of 50 percent of what you were doing before your break.

Eg if you were running 30 miles a week, you would start back at 15 miles a week. Then gradually increase it to 21 miles a week, 24 miles a week, 27 miles a week, and then back to your pre-COVID level.

Its about progressing gradually & being patient as you build your cardio & strength back up.  I have now not done anything other than walking for 10 days now, since 1st getting symptoms.  I don’t plan on running just yet and will gradually do a weights session in a few days – but I am still coughing so I will LISTEN TO MY BODY and see how it all feels 1st.

Remember, its not necessarily during the exercise,  its later that you may well feel it!

Good luck and enjoy getting back to it!


Still not sure which fitness class is for you?

Are you a woman who has pelvic girdle pain? Do you have pelvic floor issues? Have you had a C-section, episiotomy or tears? Do you have a Diastasis Recti or weak deep abdominals? Are you peri – menopausal? Do you want to get fit in a safe environment? I can help, get in touch to find out more.


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