Resuming routine exercise after COVID-19 can be more challenging, and current research raises the possibility that this is yet another sign of a protracted COVID.
Over 2,000 participants who have COVID-19 were followed up on in 38 published studies that tracked their exercise performance. The researchers finally narrowed their focus to nine trials that contrasted the performance of 359 persons who had recovered from the virus with 464 who had prolonged COVID symptoms.
Their ability to exercise was comparable to that of someone who should be at least ten years older more than three months after receiving COVID-19. Loss of exercise ability appears to be a symptom of the disease in some people, despite long COVID not having any known symptoms.
One potential symptom of extended COVID is decreased exercise capacity. Identifying therapies for lengthy COVID and understanding the course of exercise ability after COVID-19 both require additional investigation.
At least three months after infection, persons with protracted COVID had reduced ability.
While using a treadmill or stationary bike, participants’ oxygen and carbon dioxide levels were monitored. Also examined were several indicators of heart and lung health.
The results indicate that patients with lengthy COVID may have abnormal breathing patterns, decreased muscle oxygen uptake, and a greater inability to elevate heart rate during exercise.
The tests also revealed signs of deconditioning, the weakening that develops following the majority of illnesses that prevent activity. Deconditioning, however, could not fully explain the reduction in exercise ability.
Some activities could be too demanding for people with extended COVIDs.
A 40-year-old with a long COVID may have the same exercise capability as someone ten years older due to impaired oxygen usage.
Not all people with lengthy COVID will be less able to exercise. Some people may have significantly reduced capacity, while others might not.
Some people, especially those with additional long-COVID symptoms, find it difficult to exercise as much as they formerly could following COVID. Exercise cardiopulmonary testing may be used to determine the causes of exercise limits.
Finally, there is a wealth of compelling data showing that individuals with lengthy COVID may have dramatically decreased ability to exercise or even climb stairs.
It was impossible for the researchers to determine whether older or obese individuals suffer more than younger, leaner ones. The majority of individuals with extended COVID did not require hospitalization, thus it is important to let people know that everyone who has had COVID may be affected.
“We now need to look at interventional rehabilitation techniques to address the symptoms,” the researchers said. “COVID can induce changes to metabolism, the way oxygen is exchanged and given to tissues, and effects on the nervous system.