Recommended Exercise Intensity for Someone Recovering from COVID or Other Pulmonary Obstructive Conditions (COPDs)

Some people who recover from COVID-19 or other pulmonary conditions such as asthma need physical rehabilitation to help them resume normal activities after staying in the hospital, or following periods of prolonged isolation. This program can help those with decreased strength begin to move more, gradually building up their stamina.

At least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both for adults. Strength and conditioning that includes resistance training is indicated to be done twice-a-week for muscle strengthening. All these targeted at a 3.0 to 6.0 (moderate) metabolic equivalent of task according to the ACSM and CDC general physical activities Level of Intensity guidelines. More specific guidelines include: 


40-80% of maximal effort. 1-2 sessions, 3-5 days per week. 30minutes; broken into smaller durations if necessary due to symptoms.

Strength training:  

Free weights, TheraBand’s, body weight exercises, inspiratory muscle training. 60 – 80% of maximal effort (Modified Borg 3-4 ) IMT = > 30%, or respiratory muscle training in a controlled manner. 2 to 3 days/week. 1 set of 8-12 reps; additional sets added when strength improves. 8-10 exercises, or 30- 40minutes; depending on exercise capacity and any symptom limitations.


Low to moderate; depending on capability and function. 3 or more days per week; preferably on all days that aerobic or strength exercise is performed. 30 seconds minimum for each static stretch. 


Tai chi, yoga, breathing exercises. Low to moderate; depending on capability and function. In conjunction with other exercises on their program and taking into consideration their goals and capacity as tolerated.

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