4. Lower body

In this video, we will guide you through some exercises to help strengthen your lower body. This involves using your ankles and your legs.

Our lower body video has three different levels of exercise: one being the least movement, and three being the most movement. Pick the level that’s right for you.

It’s normal to feel a little bit tired after exercising. However, some people with Long COVID find that they feel very tired for a few days after doing exercise and are unable to do their usual everyday activities. This is called post-exertional malaise (PEM) and is common in people living with the effects of Long COVID.

To avoid PEM, you should build up slowly and work at the right level for you. If you do feel very tired, this is a sign that you have done too much. Next time, slow down and move down a level, or stop completely and rest.

Don’t push yourself to do too much, too soon. Your body needs rest to recover and pushing yourself too much will not speed up your recovery, instead it will set you back. Listen to your body and work at a level that is appropriate for you.

Stop exercising if you get any sudden unpleasant symptoms, such as:

  • chest pain or tightness that’s new for you
  • feeling dizzy, nauseous, clammy or cold
  • feeling increasingly wheezy
  • general extreme fatigue
  • weakness in an arm or leg that is more than just a tired muscle.

Get advice from your GP or another health care professional if you experience any of these symptoms.

Call 999 if you or someone you’re with:

  • has severe chest pain
  • is coughing up blood
  • cannot speak due to difficulty breathing
  • has lost consciousness.

It’s a good idea to speak to a health care professional if you’re worried about any effects you’re feeling after physical activity.

It’s important to practice these exercises regularly, as this will help build your physical strength. Make sure you've watched the introduction video before starting your exercise.

Read more about this course.

In this video, I'll guide you through some exercises for your lower body.

This involves using your ankles and your legs.

Now we're going to show you some exercises called sit to stands.

So cross your arms over your body and then when you come up from the chair I'd like you to hold that for three seconds and then bring yourself slowly down to the chair again.

That's really good.

I'd like you to do ten of these if your body allows but if you're not able to do ten, then try five or even three.

This is an exercise called step ups.

So you start off with one leg, tap this first step and then put that leg back down and then you lift your other leg and tap the step and bring it back down.

I would like you to do ten of these, if possible, whatever your body allows.

Well done, keep going.

So if you find this exercise easy, to make it go to the next level, you want to step up with one leg onto the step and then lower yourself down and keep going up on the same leg.

In the next video, I'll guide you through some upper body exercises using your hands, arms and shoulders.

Page last reviewed
Next review due

We’ve developed this information with funding from Garfield Weston Foundation. The Foundation had no influence on the information, which was developed in line with our usual Asthma + Lung UK information production process.

Did you find this information useful?

We use your comments to improve our information. We cannot reply to comments left on this form. If you have health concerns or need clinical advice, call our helpline on 0300 222 5800 between 9am and 5pm on a weekday or email them.

Page last reviewed:
Next review due:

We’ve developed this information with funding from Garfield Weston Foundation. The Foundation had no influence on the information, which was developed in line with our usual Asthma + Lung UK information production process.