Returning to physical activity after any illness can be frustrating as you may experience deterioration in physical and cardiorespiratory health depending on the length and severity of your illness.

     In the course of returning to exercise or sporting activity, do ensure that you have remained asymptomatic for a minimum of 7 days and have received medical clearance from your Doctor.

   English and Scottish Institute of Sports also suggest prior to re-initiation of sports for athletes, you should be able to easily achieve your activities of daily living and to be able to walk at least 500 m on a flat surface without feeling excessive fatigue or breathlessness.

     As for those that could not achieve 500 m even before their Covid-19 illness, you may consider modification of volume (time doing the activity) and load (intensity) to a level tolerable to you.

       As recommended by NHS, the initial goal is to prepare your body and mind towards a gradual return to exercise or sports.

     Try to start off with an extremely light activity such as breathing exercises and gentle stretches followed by light walking and household and gardening tasks for at least 2 weeks.

      Once your physical and mental strength improves, you may gradually progress to a more challenging movement such as brisk walking, going up and down stairs, jogging, cycling or swimming separated by a block of recovery day for at least a week.

     Once you are able to perform the above activity without any abnormal shortness of breath, lethargy or chest pain, you may progress to Phase 4 by engaging in complex movement that challenges your strength, coordination and balance prior to returning to your pre-covid level of activity.

As a precautionary measure, do monitor for any :


  • Inability to feel recovered at 1 hour after exercise and on the day after
  • Abnormal breathlessness
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Excessive fatigue or lethargy

If these occur or you have failed to progress as expected, take a step back to an earlier phase of activity and seek the advice from your Doctor.

Article by

Zoe Lim


Your Physio Subang Jaya

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