The Impact of Post-COVID-19 Syndrome on Self-Reported Physical Activity

J.M. Delbressine*, F.V.C. Machado, Y.M.J. Goertz, M. Van Herck, R. Meys, S. Houben-Wilke, C. Burtin, F.M.E. Franssen, Y. Spies, H. Vijlbrief, A.J.V. Hul, D.J.A. Janssen, M.A. Spruit, A.W. Vaes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: A subgroup of patients recovering from COVID-19 experience persistent symptoms, decreased quality of life, increased dependency on others for personal care and impaired performance of activities of daily living. However, the long-term effects of COVID-19 on physical activity (PA) in this subgroup of patients with persistent symptoms remain unclear. Methods: Demographics, self-reported average time spent walking per week, as well as participation in activities pre-COVID-19 and after three and six months of follow-up were assessed in members of online long-COVID-19 peer support groups. Results: Two hundred thirty-nine patients with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis were included (83% women, median (IQR) age: 50 (39-56) years). Patients reported a significantly decreased weekly walking time after three months of follow-up (three months: 60 (15-120) min. vs. pre-COVID-19: 120 (60-240) min./week; p < 0.05). Six months after the onset of symptoms walking time was still significantly lower compared to pre-COVID-19 but significantly increased compared to three months of follow-up (three months: 60 (15-120) min. vs. six months: 90 (30-150) min.; p < 0.05). Conclusions: Patients who experience persistent symptoms after COVID-19 may still demonstrate a significantly decreased walking time six months after the onset of symptoms. More research is needed to investigate long-term consequences and possible treatment options to guide patients during the recovery fromCOVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6017
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Corona
  • exercise
  • persistent symptoms
  • physical activity
  • COVID-19

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