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Exploring long covid experiences through physical activity

The effects of long Covid are still unfolding. To find out more about it, we conducted a qualitative study based on semi-structured interviews on 18 people living with the illness. This included nine male and nine female participants. 10 were white British, one person was Black and another was of mixed ethnicity

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Results 

Using the results of the phonecalls, we generated four themes.

  • Theme one describes how participants struggled with drastically reduced physical function, compounded by the cognitive and psychological effects of long Covid.
  • Theme two highlights challenges associated with finding and interpreting advice about physical activity that was appropriately tailored.
  • Theme three describes individual approaches to managing symptoms including fatigue and ‘brain fog’ whilst trying to resume and maintain activities of daily living and other forms of exercise.
  • Theme four illustrates the battle with self-concept to accept reduced function (even temporarily) and the fear of permanent reduction in physical and cognitive ability.

This study provides insight into the challenges of managing physical activity alongside the extended symptoms associated with long Covid. Findings highlight the need for greater clarity and tailoring of physical activity-related advice for people with long Covid and improved support to resume activities important to individual wellbeing.

Long Covid infographic 

 

Get in touch

Contact the AWRC to discuss facilities, partnerships, doctoral research and more

Contact the AWRC

Publications

LONG COVID AND THE ROLE OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: A QUALITATIVE STUDY

Research team

Rob Copeland

Professor Rob Copeland

Director of The Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, Professor of Physical Activity and Health

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Dr Helen Humphreys

Dr Laura Kilby

Reader in Social Psychology

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Nik Kudiersky

PhD Student in Clinical Exercise Physiology


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