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Independent: Online rehabilitation sessions ‘improve life quality for people with long Covid’

The sessions resulted in improvements in fatigue, pain and depression compared with usual care, researchers found.

By Nina Massey

Extracts

Group online rehabilitation including gentle exercise and mental health support can improve quality of life for adults with long Covid, a new study suggests.

The eight-week sessions resulted in improvements in fatigue, pain and depression compared with usual care, researchers found.

The experts say this accessible, resource-efficient programme can be delivered at scale and could help doctors treating the complex condition.

The Rehabilitation exercise and psychological support after Covid-19 infection (Regain) programme consists of weekly live, online, home-based, supervised, group exercise and psychological support sessions.

The exercises involve movements such as steps and squats without equipment, focusing on strength and balance.

For some people, the exercises were chair-based.

Prof McGregor added that he hoped the findings would go some way towards dispelling the myth that long Covid is a mental health condition.

Asked what advice he would have for people trying to do their own exercises at home, he explained that the trial approach had been very considered, and people trying to undertake activities on their own may experience problems.

People with chronic fatigue as a part of their long Covid should “very gently increase their activities” over a period of time so that they do not exacerbate symptoms of fatigue.

Prof McGregor

The ME Association Comments

I suspect that this online group management programme that has been devised for people with Long Covid will cause some concerns as the exercise component does not appear to be consistent with the type of activity and energy management that is recommended by the MEA (ie pacing) or by the new NICE guideline on ME/CFS.

The results should also be viewed with caution given the reliance on subjective measures.

Dr Charles Shepherd,
Trustee and
Hon. Medical Adviser
to the ME Association.

Dr Charles Shepherd

Further Media Coverage

inews: Hope for long Covid patients as the exercises that can help recovery revealed  | 8th Feb 2024

Guernsey Press: Online rehabilitation sessions ‘improve life quality for people with long Covid  | 8th Feb 2024

PULSE: Online group rehab can improve quality of life in people with long Covid  | 9th Feb 2024

Further information:

Booklet: Pacing: Activity and Energy Management: https://meassociation.org.uk/literature/items/pacing-activity-and-energy-management/

The ME Association statement on exercise in ME/CFS and Long Covid can be found here

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