Returning to exercise following COVID-19

Dr Belinda Gray

A practical guide for GPs and patients

Individuals recovering from COVID-19 may have persistent symptoms of cough, shortness

of breath, excessive fatigue, or tachycardia. These symptoms may persist for weeks or months after initial infection.

There are potentially serious cardiorespiratory complications of COVID-19 (such as

myopericarditis or pulmonary embolism) that warrant further investigation in some

patients. Key symptoms include chest pain, palpitations, and breathlessness. These symptoms

should not be ignored, and these individuals are recommended to undergo further

investigations such as ECG, echocardiogram, holter monitor or cardiac MRI (amongst


It is recommended that individuals are symptom free for 7 days before they return to

exercise training. The return to training should be a graduated return to play, over at

least a week. Before considering graduated return to play it is recommended athletes are able to

complete their usual activities of daily living and walk 500m on flat with no symptoms.

Professional or amateur athletes may notice these symptoms when they attempt to return

to exercise. In these situations, the athlete should stop training and seek further medical



Dr Belinda Gray

Dr Belinda Gray is an experienced Consultant Cardiologist and Sports Cardiologist. Dr Gray has an interest in all aspects of general cardiology with her sub-specialty interests including Sports Cardiology, Inherited Cardiac Conditions, Cardiac Disease in Women and Cardiac Imaging.

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Dr Belinda Grey

Better and fairer care. Always.

In a rapidly transforming world, St Vincent's has created a refreshed vision and strategy to help shape Australia's health and aged care future.