Does anyone else feel like exercising makes your symptoms worse?

Posted by stephbea @stephbea, Mar 22 9:29am

Hi everyone! I have started to have some improvement after starting vagus nerve stimulation therapy and finally felt like I was able to start exercising again! I have a Peloton bike (leaderboard is @stephbea27 if you want to add me!) and I started doing 20 minute rides last week. The first day the ride itself felt amazing and I felt so good while working out, but the next day all of my symptoms were back and I felt terrible. When I take a rest day, I notice the symptoms feel better the next day but when I work out, I just don't feel good the next day. It's like my body is using all of it's energy during the workout and leaves nothing for other processes. Has anyone experienced this?

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yes, i feel like things are worse, i feel like i'm level is almost none, hard time with weight, on the 20th i had a 1.5lb loss and in 36hours had a 1.7lb gain…it happens every single time, like i have this everyday battle with long covid…my brain is worse on focusing ..i'm lately having trouble with words..even typing this i'm really slow and have to keep checking and fixing the misspelled words…the phlegm in my throat it really bad, anything i have done to calm it down doesn't work anymore…my back and other parts of me feels like someone beat the holy crap out of i have said before, 1 step forward..10 steps back..WE HAVE TO BEAT THIS !@#$%^&*()……as hard as it is DON'T GIVE UP!!!!!!


Yes agreed! Started physical therapy and as I am doing more symptoms of nausea, vomiting, extreme fatigue return. Have lost 30 pounds since having Covid in October. Have no appetite most days and cannot gain weight.


Yes!! I was fit and healthy before LC. I started going to pulmonary rehab .Covid damaged my lungs. I started slowly. 18 minutes on treadmill at a slow pace. Used to run 5 Ks. The next day severe fatigue which I thought was behind me. Doing less now and so far better. But very cautious how much I increase..


Yes, it is very common and also documented in medical literature. I'll be feeling great and try a leisure 20 minute bike ride and spend the next day in bed.


The frustration, confusion and fear of these "crashes" is horrible!! For me, this is a leaden, overwhelming, incapacitating exhaustion (not fatigue) combined with headache/nausea/light & sound sensitivity, muscle pain (not aches), chills. I will loose an entire day essentially bed/couch-bound. LOTS of water with an electrolyte replacement (Propel or Gatorade), a dark room, and time gets me through. I learned abut pacing from OT. I keep a diary of my physical and cognitive activity each day. I started with limiting myself to only 2 hours of each per day. I can do 4-6 hours total each day now. Laundry, cooking, errands, wash/dry/style my hair count as physical work. Finance, legal papers, planning count towards brain work. I know from my diary that when I exceed these limits, I crash. For any kind of 'event' (social, entertainment, travel) I do nothing but shower, pick out my clothes and rest the day before, and nothing the day after to survive the occasion.
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Hi there, I just have to comment because what you are describing is exactly my situation, in particular the effect of cognitive effort. If I have an event, same-all I do is shower at the most, and not even a hot one because that would take my
energy. I'm sorry you're going through this. I was doing better, and I am an OT : ) and thought I could go back to work part time after 8 weeks rest, but had another crash and back to near square one.


Yes, I took a long walk that I had taken many times before and I knew I was in trouble when I came home and had to lie down on the sofa and feel asleep for three hours. Has anyone else had strange rashes?


Thanks for sharing. I'm coming off a brief bout with Covid – about 7 days – and I'm usually in the gym 6 days a week. I'm also 68 y/o, so have to remind myself that I'm not 17 anymore. I wore myself down and caught Covid. I was vaxxed and boosted so the symptoms were mild and the recovery quick.

I'm getting ready to go back to the gym, and your post reminded me to take it slow coming back. Rest is always important, and Covid in particular seems to linger even if one doesn't have long Covid.

Anyway, thanks for the reminder. And take care of yourself too. Come back slowly, to everything! Joe


Yes, I have had PEM (post exertional malaise) in some form since August 2020. After a particularly bad episode, my FL doctor ordered another CT/Angiogram test. According to the results, I have –
1. No evidence of pulmonary embolus. 2. There are mild emphysematous changes. 3. There appears to be stenosis in the right subclavian vein with several collaterals seen throughout the right upper extremity and over the right thorax.

Needless to say, I'm concerned. I just sent the results to my PCP and Cardiologist in MI. Waiting to hear.


About a week after my last symptoms of COVID had dissipated I had bursts of energy and spent an afternoon cleaning and doing laundry. I was so happy to have energy that I overdid it and paid for it the next day.
I see a wonderful acupuncturist who treated me when I had Lyme Disease years ago (COVID fatigue is similar to Lyme fatigue) and so I remembered what he told me then and it has helped me a lot.
He said it’s an energy budget problem. Energy is like a financial budget. You sometimes have a lot in the bank and you can go on a long vacation. But other times you only have enough to go to dinner and a movie. He helped me to understand how to read my “bank” of energy better so I wouldn’t overspend it. I started off slow with walks (even though I felt like running) and always reserve time for rest. I added in small bursts of jogging/running (like interval training but only a minute or two at faster pace), then walk at normal pace. It’s hard when you’re so excited to feel better, but the principal idea of budgeting my energy really made sense for me and helped me in my recovery process.


Glad to know I’m not singular in this feeling. I’ve been able to increase my activity level to 1 mile walks and up to 2 miles broken up during the day without completely crashing for 1-2 days. I still can’t do moderate activity and stairs without getting short of breath, dizzy, weakness, and complete exhaustion that requires a day or two of recovery to include falling asleep from the exhaustion for about 4 hours. I’m on my 6th month.

I had lung inflammations for 3-4 months after and now have a lung nodule with suspected malignancy, but this isn’t affecting my symptoms or ability to exercise according to my pulmonologist. He’s put me on asthma meds which seemed to improve my need for big breaths at times, but they don’t seem to be improving my shortness of breath or dizziness. He’s suspecting a cardiovascular issue. I’m showing ECG anomalies in my ECHO and stress test and experiencing chest pain during exertion recently. I’m hoping it’s not due to micro vascular disfunction as I will likely have to be very careful about exercising. Sadly, the Tampa Bay Area doesn’t have any specialists in post sequellae COVID 19 so I think connections are being overlooked/not necessarily understood. I just found this site and feel some hope…

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