Exercise Therapy and Long COVID *DO NOT* Mix: Stop Recommending Exercise to Patients!

I know many can’t relate, but I need you to know that you’ve been lucky to walk/run/yoga your way out of illness. I - and many others - need you to know that that experience isn’t one-size-fits-all, and that some illnesses worsen as a result of exertion.

That exercising long enough (the GET pillar) is only beneficial to those who aren’t afflicted with an exertion disease, such as #mecfs and #longcovid.

It seems counterintuitive that the thing keeping us physically and mentally healthy can exacerbate symptoms in others. It goes against what we’ve been conditioned to know, but such is the reality of a society entwined with ableism and unaware of its dangers and false narratives.

I write this in response to the @bmj_company piece written by a former long hauler who used their privilege and ableism to spew falsehoods about the role of exercise in “curing” long covid. I write this with disappointment that a person who once stood in solidarity has put forth a narrative that could set the chronic illness community back by decades. Someone that I would call a “fair weather advocate”, advocating for chronic illness while it effected them, and then shitting on the community and its years of work when they no longer felt ill. On decades of experiences faced by others.

And this isn’t ok. And not because of their character, but due to their lack of realizing their ableism, which (when vocalized on a large platform) perpetuates more ableism upon readers unfamiliar with the science.

So I write this for healthy folx wanting to be informed, and for #longhaulers who don’t recognize their own ableism telling them that exercise cures (even though it doesn’t always).

If you search for “cfs #gradedexercisetherapy ” you’ll find studies (from the CDC, the NIH, etc.) detailing why this “treatment” isn’t even controversial: it’s just wrong and not medically sound.

So I encourage you to share because there are many new to chronic illness thanks to Covid. Many who think exercising long enough helps. And it can help to negate damage done by an article written by a person who doesn’t care to help a community that once welcomed and helped him and even gave him a platform.