How to start exercising after a Covid-19 infection?

This guidance is for those who had mild to moderate symptoms

Covid-19 may pose a risk of complications in the heart, kidney, airways and blood. A gradual restart of physical training is recommended, and pay attencion to physical and mental symptoms that may occur. You should have at least 10 days of rest.

If you get any symptoms of covid-19, it is recommended that you follow the national guidelines.During the course of the disease it is important to drink enough water and ensure at balanced diet. If symptoms persist or get worse, seek medical assiatance.

To resume training, the recommandation is to follow a step-by-step model. But before considering resuming training, you must be able to carry out normal everyday activities, and manage to walk 500 meters on flat ground without becoming exhausted or short of breath. You should have at least ten days of rest and seven days without symptoms before you start. This period represents step 1 in the model. Sports with lower fitness requirements, such as golf, may be resumed faster, depending of your physical health. Parameters that can be useful in the rehabilitation includes measuring resting heart rate, perceived exertion, sleep, stress and degree of fatigue.

Training escalation: Step one to six. At each step, you should monitor your heart rate and symptoms, including fatigue. In case of deterioration, return to previous step.

  • Step 1: At least ten days of rest. Seven days without symptoms.
  • Step 2: Low intensity activity. Walking, light jogging or cycling on an exercise bike. No strength training. Heart rate should be below 70 percent of max, and the session should last less than 15 minutes. Maintain this stage for at least two days.
  • Step 3A: Increase training frequency. You can do simple movements activities, such as running/jogging. Heart rate should be below 80 percent of max, and the session should not last longer than 30 minutes. The load should be increased gradually. This step should last for at least one day.
  • Step 3B: Increase training duration, more complex exercises. The heart rate should be below 80 percent of max, and the workout session should be below 45 minutes. The goal is to train fitness and tactics. This step should also last for at least a day.
  • Step 4: Increase the intensity. Resume normal exercise activities. Heart rate should be below 80 percent of max, and the session should last for less than 60 minutes. This stage should at least last for two days.
  • Step 5: Resume normal activity, no earlier than day 17.
  • Step 6: Resume competition according to spesific timeline for the sport.


Referance: Elliott N, Martin R, Heron N, et al. Infographic. Graduated return to play guidance following COVID-19 infection. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2020