Study Suggests Exercise Could Benefit Patients with Long COVID, Despite Myopathy Risks

A recent study provides encouraging insights for patients battling long COVID, suggesting that exercise may hold potential benefits for their rehabilitation journey, despite associated risks of myopathy. Led by Andrea Tryfonos, PhD, from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the study sheds light on the impact of exercise on individuals grappling with lingering symptoms of COVID-19.

Key Takeaways:

Patients with long COVID exhibited comparable responses to exercise when compared to those without the condition, indicating no significant exacerbation of symptoms.
Despite no discernible difference in fatigue levels post-exercise between patients with long COVID and controls, individuals with long COVID reported heightened muscle and joint pain following certain exercise regimes.

Notably, 62% of participants with long COVID displayed signs of myopathy, underscoring the complexities of the condition.
While caution is warranted due to the study’s small sample size, the findings highlight the potential benefits of supervised exercise interventions for individuals navigating long COVID.


The study involved 31 nonhospitalized patients enduring persistent long COVID symptoms, alongside an equal number of age- and sex-matched individuals without long COVID. Through a series of exercise trials encompassing high-intensity interval training (HIIT), moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT), and strength training (ST), researchers assessed participants’ responses and symptoms.

Results indicated that while individuals with long COVID did not experience exacerbated symptoms or deterioration in their condition post-exercise, they did report heightened muscle and joint pain following certain exercises. Furthermore, participants with long COVID exhibited lower levels of fitness and muscle strength, potentially attributed to both the infection and reduced activity during their illness.

Despite the encouraging outcomes, the study’s limitations, including its modest sample size, warrant cautious interpretation. Nevertheless, the findings underscore the importance of tailored exercise interventions under supervision for individuals grappling with long COVID.


In light of the study’s insights, the narrative surrounding exercise for individuals with long COVID warrants reconsideration. While acknowledging the risks, including the prevalence of myopathy, researchers advocate for supervised exercise programs tailored to individual capabilities and preferences. By fostering a gradual increase in intensity and duration, such interventions may hold promise in supporting the rehabilitation journey of individuals navigating the complexities of long COVID.

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