Registered nurses have revealed that slowing down after getting Covid is crucial to prevent overtraining the body or risking a relapse.

Madeline Calfas is a Registered Nurse and a qualified scientist in health sciences. She has created a guideline for reintroducing exercise and the “stair test” that will help you determine if your body’s ready.

Daily Mail Australia spoke to Ms Calfas about the side effects of Covid. She said that they are “long and varied” making it hard for people to know when they can resume working. 

Ms. Calfas advises that you begin with a simple “stair test” by walking up and down a set stairs. Once you have completed the test, you will be ready to return to your normal routine. 

With close to half a million Australians suffering from an active case of the virus right now, Registered Nurse and qualified health scientist, Madeline Calfas, outlined a basic guide to reintroducing exercise - and the 'stair test' that will tell you if you're ready

Madeline Calfas is a Registered Nurse and a qualified scientist in health sciences. She has created a guide for reintroducing exercise and the “stair test” that will help you determine if your body’s ready. 

Ms Calfas told Daily Mail Australia the side effects of Covid are 'long and varied', making it difficult to determine how soon someone can start working out again

Daily Mail Australia was informed by Ms Calfas that side effects from Covid can be ‘long-lasting and diverse’. It is difficult to predict when someone will start work again. 

“The key word in this sentence is EASE into it. This means that you should aim to do one exercise per week with a moderate or high level of intensity. Then, assess how your body feels during and immediately following the workout.

“For people who have not yet registered they are sick, recovery will take around 5-7 days. This is in contrast to someone with more severe symptoms (ranging from chronic and continuous for several weeks).

“Despite this, people who have had an acute phase of mild illness can still experience ‘Long Covid’ symptoms, which are Covid-related symptoms that appear after your virus is gone. 

What side effects can Covid-19 cause?

The most common symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Tiredness
  • It can cause loss of taste and smell.

  • These are less common symptoms
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • There are many aches and pains
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Eyes reddening or irritation


“The long list of side effects that Covid has on the body is extensive and complex. Not everyone will get all of them, and the variant of Covid that you have can also play a role in some of the symptoms,’ Ms Calfas said 

Covid infection has been linked to fever, sore throats headaches, migraines, body aches, fatigue and persistent coughs. 

How can I get back to physical activity?

It is important that you are fully recovered before you return to your HIIT classes. This means you should take note of how you feel after doing everyday things like going shopping or walking briskly.

You can put your body under stress by taking on Covid. Exercise can also put your body under stress. If you don’t have a full recovery, you’re essentially adding stress to the equation and making it harder for your body to deal with.

“In reality, exercise can make you more sick and cause you to relapse.

Ms. Calfas suggests that you do a stair test to determine if your fitness level is safe to resume exercising.

She said, “If you are able to walk up and down without feeling dizzy or like you might pass out,” she added.

You could also add a workout to your work week with the possibility of a few days off for recuperation if you’re feeling well.

'The key word here is EASE into it - aim for one workout per week at a mild to moderate intensity and assess how you feel during the workout, immediately after, and the next day,' Ms Calfas said

Ms Calfas stated, “The key word is EASE in it. Aim for one week of moderate to vigorous intensity. Then, assess your feelings immediately following the workout. Next day. 

Ms. Calfas explained that once your workouts are the same as before, you can increase your intensity.

Additionally, she said that although slow pages can feel frustrating, this is necessary to determine how your body copes.

Also, it’s worth noting your moods during, the next and after work. These are key indicators of how your body copes with stress. 

What to do after Covid? 

1. Rest 

2. Take note of how you are feeling 

3. After symptoms have subsided, go for a walk. 

4. You can do a “stair test” by going up one flight of stairs. If you are feeling out of breath you might need to take more time to relax. 

5. Begin working out with low-intensity exercises once per week 

6. Gradually, increase the intensity of your training 

7. Keep an eye on how you feel, and drink enough water to keep your body hydrated  

Do I need to do some exercise?

It might seem tempting to get back in your F45 class but Ms Calfas advises against it and suggests starting ‘gently. 

She advised that you should avoid high-intensity activities such as weight training, running and long distance cycling until you’ve experienced no adverse effects. 

Alternatives to high intensity could be yoga, pilates, or just going on a short walk. 

If I still feel fatigued, what should I do?

Although the most common signs and symptoms of Covid may disappear in a few days, fatigue can last for several weeks.  

You should stop exercising immediately and get some rest.   

“Stop exercising if you feel fatigued.” This is not the time to push through,’ Ms Calfas said. 

“The fatigue that you feel after taking Covid is different from the fatigue you get when you exercise normally.” 

It was important to pay attention to your body, and to ‘adjust’ your exercise program with shorter workouts that are less intense with greater recovery.