Research: Exercise Training in Post-COVID-19 Patients

Long Covid Research


COVID-19 is a multisystem disease with acute and, quite often, chronic consequences, even though limited data are available for exercise prescription in long-COVID-19 patients. 

The sequelae in those who survive this illness will potentially dominate medical practice for years and rehabilitation medicine should be at the forefront of guiding care for the affected population. 

We reviewed the previously published protocols on exercise training to build a “new combined post-COVID-19 exercise protocol” tailored for post-COVID-19 patients conceived as frail subjects with interstitial lung disease, likely complicated by cardiac and vascular diseases, as assessed by a specific preliminary evaluation. 

Future studies are needed to confirm the safety and the efficacy of the “new combined COVID-19 exercise protocol” as a promising strategy to manage long-COVID-19 patients.

Cattadori, G. et al. Exercise Training in Post-COVID-19 Patients: The Need for a Multifactorial Protocol for a Multifactorial Pathophysiology Journal of Clinical Medicine | 15 April 2022

ME Association Comment

It is very disturbing to see that this research group is advocating an ‘exercise training' programme for people with Long Covid but do not appear to have any knowledge or understanding of the very important clinical and pathological overlaps between ME/CFS and Long Covid, especially the need to avoid post-exertional malaise/symptom exacerbation when advising on activity and energy management

The dangers of over-simplistic exercise regimes have been known to people with ME/CFS (and to many health professionals) for many years and the new NICE guideline clearly states and they can no longer be recommended for people with ME/CFS. I hope that the same serious mistakes that have made with ME/CFS and GET programmes are not now going to be repeated for people with Long Covid.

Dr Charles Shepherd,
Trustee and
Hon. Medical Adviser
to the ME Association.
Member of the 2018-2021 NICE Guideline Committee.
Member of the 2002 Independent Working Group on ME/CFS.

Dr Charles Shepherd

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