The Relationship between Physical Activity and Long COVID: A Cross-Sectional Study
- Activity levels were significantly lower in individuals with LC post-COVID-19 compared to pre-COVID-19.
- Almost half of those with LC surveyed were no longer able to complete ADLs without assistance.
- Engaging in PA generally made LC symptoms worse; however, in a small minority, PA improves symptoms.
- There was inconsistent advice from healthcare professionals on how to be physically active.
- Clinicians should recognize that returning to pre-COVID PA levels may be challenging for many with LC.
- The priority should be placed on supporting patients and their families and restoring people's independence.
- Clinicians should take an individualized approach to recommending PA in those with LC, using principles of pacing.
- PA’s potential benefits should be balanced against adverse effects, including the worsening of LC symptoms.
- Policymakers need to consider the multitude of effects LC can have at both the individual and societal level.
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Study Design and Participants
2.3. Dependent Measures and Statistical Analyses
4.1. Physical Activity Patterns and Independence
4.2. PA’s Effect on LC
4.3. Recommendations by HCPs
4.5. Future Directions
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
Appendix A. Summary Box
Appendix A.1. What Are the New Findings?
- Activity levels were significantly lower in individuals with LC post COVID-19 compared to pre COVID-19, with the average participant reporting 26 min of activity in the last week
- Only 8.13% of participants met the UK PA guidelines
- Almost half of those with LC surveyed in this study were no longer able to complete ADLs without assistance
- Engaging in PA generally make LC symptoms worse however, in a small minority PA improves symptoms
- There was inconsistent advice on physically active from healthcare professionals
Appendix A.2. How Might It Impact on Clinical Practice in the Future?
- Clinicians should recognise that return to pre-COVID PA levels may be challenging for many with LC and the priority should be that of supporting patients, their families and restoring patients independence
- Clinicians should take an individualised approach to recommending PA in those with LC, using principles of pacing, balancing its potential benefits against adverse effects, including the worsening of LC symptoms
- Policy makers need to consider the multitude of effects LC can have at both the individual and societal level as well as providing HCPs with clear, safe advice to care for their patients
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|Characteristic||Total Sample (n = 477)|
|Age (years), mean (SD)||45.69 (10.02)|
|Gender (female), n (%)||425 (89.10)|
|BMI, median (IQR)||25.71 (22.51, 30.47)|
|Ethnicity, n (%)|
|White (British, Irish, Irish Traveller or other White backgrounds)||442 (92.70)|
|Black (African, Caribbean or other Black backgrounds)||3 (0.60)|
|Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese or other Asian backgrounds)||18 (3.80)|
|Mixed (White and Asian, White and Black African, White and Black Caribbean, Other)||7 (1.50)|
|Country, n (%)|
|Northern Ireland||5 (1.09)|
|Number of LC symptoms, median (IQR)||11 (8,14)|
|Time since COVID-19 symptom onset (months), n (%)|
|Method of COVID-19 diagnosis, n (%)|
|PCR test||226 (47.4)|
|Antibody test||50 (10.5)|
|Based on symptoms alone (including retrospectively)||177 (37.1)|
|No testing available at the time||12 (2.5)|
|Co-morbidities prior to LC, n (%)|
|Allergies *||12 (2.5)|
|Autoimmune diseases||42 (8.8)|
|Cardiovascular disease||20 (4.2)|
|Chronic neurological conditions||10 (2.1)|
|Chronic pain||13 (2.7)|
|Chronic respiratory conditions||94 (19.7)|
|Diabetes (type 1 or 2)||17 (3.6)|
|Mental health **||12 (2.5)|
|No diagnosed co-morbidities||230 (48.2)|
|Other (any co-morbidity with a frequency of <2%)||64 (13.4)|
|Unspecified hypo or hyperthyroidism||12 (2.5)|
|Pre-post × LC duration||0.16||2467||0.86||0.01|
|LC duration Ϯ||0.20||1467||0.82||0.00|
|Pre-post × LC duration||0.11||2467||0.89||0.00|
|Intensity × LC duration||1.83||3.22, 751.29||0.14||0.01|
|Pre-post × intensity||36.85||1.72, 802.36||<0.001||0.07|
|Pre-post × intensity × LC duration||0.61||3.44, 802.36||0.63||0.00|
|LC duration Ϯ||0.13||2467||0.88||0.00|
|Intensity||Minutes per Week, Mean (SD)||Mean Difference (95% CI)||Paired t-Test, p Value|
|Pre-COVID-19 Baseline||In the Last 7 Days|
|Brisk walking||418.56 |
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Wright, J.; Astill, S.L.; Sivan, M. The Relationship between Physical Activity and Long COVID: A Cross-Sectional Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 5093. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095093
Wright J, Astill SL, Sivan M. The Relationship between Physical Activity and Long COVID: A Cross-Sectional Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(9):5093. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095093Chicago/Turabian Style
Wright, Jack, Sarah L. Astill, and Manoj Sivan. 2022. "The Relationship between Physical Activity and Long COVID: A Cross-Sectional Study" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 9: 5093. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095093