This Is How Long COVID Can Impact Your Ability To Exercise, According To A New Study

The effects of COVID-19 can linger long after the initial illness has passed and impact many aspects of someone's life. According to a new study published in JAMA Network Open, adults with severe cases of long COVID lost some of their capacity to exercise for three months after contracting the disease. Cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) was utilized in 38 prior studies to assess how well individuals with long COVID could exercise after recovering from the condition, according to researchers from the University of California San Francisco and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. To determine how well their heart and lungs were functioning as they exercised on a treadmill or a stationary cycle, CPET evaluated how much oxygen they used during that activity.

Based on these findings, researchers suggested that those suffering from long COVID symptoms may need to move to a lower-intensity exercise until they feel well enough to go back to their regular routine (via WebMD). While we have known for a long time that long COVID can cause many health issues, having more data on exactly how it can affect people in different ways is helpful for medical professionals moving forward.

The difference between short, medium, and long COVID

There has been a lot of information about long COVID in the news recently, so it is important to be able to tell what the symptoms are when it comes to your own experience. Long COVID refers to people who continue to exhibit health concerns long after testing positive for the virus, even if they now have officially recovered (via the American Medical Association). Long COVID symptoms last more than four weeks. After a month or two, some people with this illness start to feel normal, while others can still be experiencing symptoms with no end in sight.

However, this virus can have other long-term effects besides long COVID. Many people have encountered what medical professionals refer to as "medium COVID," or health issues that go away in less than four weeks yet persist longer than an average virus affects people (via WebMD). While it is encouraging that these health issues don't last too long, dealing with symptoms like weariness and brain fog for weeks after a COVID test comes back negative can have a significant impact on someone's quality of life. Short COVID is a term used to describe persons who only have COVID symptoms for a brief period of time (less than two weeks), following the typical viral course (via Johns Hopkins Medicine).