top of page
  • Writer's picturePeter George

Guide To Returning To Exercise Post Covid-19

Covid-19 Pandemic Sport Exercise Guide Help Healthy Exercise Physiologist Physio Physiotherapist Return to Sport Recovery Symptoms Fever Cough Physical Activity Training Strength Resistance Cardiovascular Lung Health Cardiac Heart Health

The past 2 years have been hard for participating in sports. If it wasn't trying to avoid catching Covid, the mandated lockdowns and LGA travel restriction were enough to throw a spanner in the works for Australians.

It goes without saying that the ongoing absence of, or constant disruption to sport and exercises have caused many Australians to experience a drop in their physical activity and capacity. Not to mention the potential new poor dietary habits from increased take-away consumption.

Getting back into sport after Covid-19

There is no cookie cutter formulae to get you back to your pre-Covid fitness, exhausting yourself whilst experiencing symptoms or even after experiencing symptoms may be detrimental to your health.

It is vital to follow a evidence based and measured approach to returning to exercise. A safe progressive strategy will help you maximize your health outcomes.

Let's break down what you need to be aware of to get you back to your pre-Covid physical capacity.

What works for others might not work for you.

Everyone experiences Covid differently, the common symptoms amongst most people are cough, fever, loss of taste and/or smell, tiredness. These factors can increase your risk of developing post-exertion symptom exacerbation. This refers to continuing symptoms for up to 9 months. It is best to know, before you return to sport whether if you are either asymptomatic or symptomatic.

What Level of Risk Post Covid-19 are there?

Low Risk:

  • Mild or no symptoms

  • Experience upper respiratory symptoms (cough)

  • Young in age


  • Ensure adequate rest (roughly 10 days) from the onset of symptoms

  • Should be at least 7 days symptom free before exercise

  • No longer require medication

Intermediate Risk

  • Experience symptoms for 7 days

  • Have chest pain

  • Asthmatic or chronic fatigue


  • Visit your doctor to discuss if further treatment is required

  • If blood tests are required and results yielded are abnormal

High Risk

  • Have been hospitalized or admitted to ICU due to Covid

  • Have prolonged chest pain even at rest or with minimal energy exerted

  • History of cardiac problems


  • Visit your Doctor

  • If recommended by doctor, consult a cardiologist who can administer an ECG or stress test

  • If recommended by doctor, consult a respiratory physician for pulmonary function or chest CT scan

  • Consult an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP)

Each risk phase will have its own recommendation to the intensity, duration and volume of exercise.

What out for red flag symptoms

If you experience any of the following symptoms then take the recommended actions from the high risk above. The symptoms are;

  • Chest pain or chest palpitations

  • shortness of breath

  • pain or swelling in legs

Phases of Recovery Process

Source:British Journal of Sports Medicine

Phase 1-

Reintroduction back to normal routines, sleep/wake cycles and normal activities of daily taks

Phase 2-

This phase recommends starting with 15 minutes of light intensity exercise (40-55% HRmax) on 2-3 days. Recommendations on exercises can be walking or cycling as examples. Intensity can be increased when comfortable to do so.

Phase 3-

Once reaching this phase the next thing to do is re-introduce progressive exercise resistance training. Start by conducting 30 minutes session then introduce body weight resistance exercises on 1-2 days a week at a low volume ensuring that you have adequate rest and recovery.

Phase 4-

You should steadily and safely increase your training volume, it is recommended that if you played sports pre Covid to reintroduce sport specific training and drills to your program. Depending on your physical capacity, you may exercise 3-5 days per week with 1-2 of those days being resistance training.

In this stage you should regain some pre-Covid confidence in your exercise tolerance. Again, ensuring you allow for adequate rest and recovery.

Phase 5-

The final step- here you should be able to return to your pre-Covid exercise levels. An accredited Exercise Physiologist can help guide and provide an individualized progressive training program.

Contact our Accredited Exercise Physiologist to see what type or combination of exercises are right for you. You can book online at

17 views0 comments


bottom of page