Use of symptom-guided physical activity and exercise rehabilitation for COVID-19 and other postviral conditions
BMJ Military Health, May 2023
Peter Ladlow, R Barker-Davies, O Hill, D Conway, O O'Sullivan
There are many similarities in symptoms between postviral conditions, including clinical features such as fatigue, reduced daily activity and postexertional symptom exacerbation. Unfavourable responses to exercise have influenced the wider debate on how to reintegrate physical activity (PA) and exercise while simultaneously managing symptoms during recovery from post-COVID-19 syndrome (or Long COVID). This has resulted in inconsistent advice from the scientific and clinical rehabilitation community on how and when to resume PA and exercise following COVID-19 illness. This article provides commentary on the following topics: (1) controversies surrounding graded exercise therapy as a treatment modality for post-COVID-19 rehabilitation; (2) evidence supporting PA promotion, resistance exercise and cardiorespiratory fitness for population health, and the consequences of physical inactivity in patients with complex rehabilitation needs; (3) population-based challenges for UK Defence Rehabilitation practitioners for the management of postviral conditions; and (4) 'symptom guided PA and exercise rehabilitation' as an appropriate treatment option for managing individuals with multifaceted medical needs.
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