A team of scientists in Leeds, United Kingdom developed a six-week supervised physical activity program for patients dealing with long Covid, helping them alleviate their long-term symptoms and improve their quality of life.
“The findings of this research are exciting because this is the first time that crashing episodes have been used as a marker for the condition and a structured pacing program has now been shown to substantially reduce symptoms and improve quality of life,” explains Dr. Manoj Sivan who supervised the research project.
Developed for the World Health Organization, the CR-10 Borg pacing protocol is designed to increase the physical activity of people with long Covid (having Covid-19 symptoms that last beyond twelve weeks). The program starts with gentle stretching and breathing exercises and ends with being able to exercise or do sports as done prior to being ill. 31 people took part in the six-week program. On average, they had been experiencing symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, breathlessness, headache, and palpitations for 17 months, reporting three crashes a week. Done at home, the program included a weekly phone call from the patient’s clinician to evaluate their progress, and a questionnaire to assess their level of exhaustion before being able to advance. At the end of the six-week program, patients saw a reduction in their crashes, having on average only one per week. The results show that a supervised increase in physical activity could become an effective treatment option to reduce fatigue, breathlessness, and headache, improving the quality of life of people with long Covid.