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After COVID-19

Exercising and being active: Exercise after COVID-19

As you recover from COVID-19, be slow and careful with exercise. Sometimes, exercising can make you more tired or make your symptoms worse. If it’s still hard to do basic tasks like getting dressed or showering, it is too early to add exercise.

Pace yourself carefully as you recover so you don’t make your symptoms worse, get injured, or have any new symptoms. Stop and rest if your symptoms get worse during or after exercise.

If you have any questions about exercise after COVID-19, feel worse or more tired the day after exercise, or have a racing or irregular heartbeat, talk to your healthcare provider or call the Alberta Health Services Rehabilitation Advice Line.

Reasons to exercise

There are many good reasons to be active and exercise. When you feel well enough, exercise can be an important part of your recovery. Exercise can help you:

  • feel less short of breath​​
  • get stronger muscles​
  • have better balance and coordination
  • think more clearly
  • lower stress, put you in a better mood, and feel good about yourself
  • have more energy to do the things you want to do

Start slowly and build up to exercise for 20 to 30 minutes, 5 days each week. You can also try shorter sessions more often in the day. Remember, it may take a while before you can do everything you were able to do before you got COVID-19.

The following sections gives examples of different exercises you can try. Remember that any activity that makes you feel a little short of breath counts as exercise. As you feel better, you can carefully challenge yourself more.

Exercising safely

Exercising safely is important. It’s a good idea to work with a healthcare provider to make a plan for safe exercise as you recover. It’s especially important if you:

  • were in the hospital for COVID-19
  • have any other health concerns or an injury
  • are on oxygen therapy that your doctor prescribed (You must talk to your doctor before you do any exercise if you're using oxygen therapy.)

Remember these exercise safety tips:

  • Always warm-up before exercising, and cool down after exercising.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing, and supportive shoes.
  • Wait at least 1 hour after a meal before exercising.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Don't exercise in very hot weather.
  • Exercise indoors in very cold weather.
  • Exercise at the right level for you. Challenge yourself a little, but don’t push yourself too hard.

When to talk to your healthcare provider about exercise

If you feel any of these symptoms, stop exercising or don't exercise, and contact your healthcare provider:

  • nausea (feeling sick to your stomach)
  • light headed or dizzy
  • very short of breath (some shortness of breath is normal when you exercise—see the section Feeling short of breath)
  • tight feeling in your chest
  • pain

Learn more about exercise and being active

Go to these links for more information about exercising and being active:

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