Long COVID and the role of physical activity: a qualitative study

HUMPHREYS, Helen, KILBY, Laura, KUDIERSKY, Nik and COPELAND, Robert (2021). Long COVID and the role of physical activity: a qualitative study. BMJ Open, 11 (3).

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Objectives: To explore the lived experience of long COVID with particular focus on the role of physical activity. Design: Qualitative study using semistructured interviews. Participants: 18 people living with long COVID (9 men, 9 women; aged between 18–74 years; 10 white British, 3 white Other, 3 Asian, 1 black, 1 mixed ethnicity) recruited via a UK-based research interest database for people with long COVID. Setting: Telephone interviews with 17 participants living in the UK and 1 participant living in the USA. Results: Four themes were generated. Theme 1 describes how participants struggled with drastically reduced physical function, compounded by the cognitive and psychological effects of long COVID. Theme 2 highlights challenges associated with finding and interpreting advice about physical activity that was appropriately tailored. Theme 3 describes individual approaches to managing symptoms including fatigue and ‘brain fog’ while trying to resume and maintain activities of daily living and other forms of exercise. Theme 4 illustrates the battle with self-concept to accept reduced function (even temporarily) and the fear of permanent reduction in physical and cognitive ability. Conclusions: 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 well-being.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** Embargo end date: 09-03-2021 ** From BMJ via Jisc Publications Router ** Licence for this article starting on 09-03-2021: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ **Journal IDs: eissn 2044-6055 **Article IDs: publisher-id: bmjopen-2020-047632 **History: published_online 09-03-2021; published 03-2021; accepted 23-02-2021; rev-recd 03-02-2021; submitted 07-12-2020
Uncontrolled Keywords: Qualitative research, 1506, 2474, 1725, public health, qualitative research, rehabilitation medicine, COVID-19
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-047632
SWORD Depositor: Colin Knott
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2021 15:39
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2021 12:00
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/28389

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