According to the World Health Organization, most people who have developed COVID-19 will fully recover, but some post-COVID symptoms may linger for months – it is indeed not unusual for COVID-19 survivors experiencing breathlessness, fatigue and cognitive dysfunction after recovery.


To understand the reasons behind this phenomenon, researchers from the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences of PolyU has conducted a prospective research to assess the physical fitness, psychosocial functions and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in COVID-19 patients after recovery, as well as assessing their changes in the “3Rs”, namely “Rebuild fitness”, “Regain confidence” and “Resume normal life”. The team has furthermore designed a special training titled “3R Rehabilitation Programme” that aims to help COVID-19 survivors regain their health.


Findings revealed that the fatigue was reported in more than 40% COVID-19 survivors, 6 and 12 months after diagnosis from COVID-19. Researchers believed that this is indeed an alarming sign that should not be ignored. Many COVID-19 survivors are affected by poor lung function and weak lower limb, posing a negative impact to their daily life.


“Fatigue syndrome exists in adults, as well as in elderlies. One may think that those symptoms will eventually go away given times— but it is actually not the case.” said Professor Amy Fu, Peter Hung Professor in Pain Management, Associate Head of the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences of PolyU who led the research. “With appropriate rehabilitation programmes in place, the fatigue condition of COVID-19 survivors can be reversed.”


Under the guidance of PolyU physiotherapists, a group of COVID-19 survivors had participated a 6-week training comprising two training sessions (60 mins each) and three home exercise sessions (30 mins each) each week. They were taught to practice different forms of fitness exercise to help improve their lung capacity and lower limb muscle strength. The team is glad to see that majority of the 24 participants demonstrated improvement in their lung capacity and lower limb muscle strength, their fatigue level also lowered.


Whether or not you are a COVID-19 survivor, you are encouraged to make use of the “Rehab 8 Forms” – a sequence of eight different movements to train various muscle groups and improve cardiorespiratory and muscle performance. Dr Arnold Wong, Associate Professor of the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences of PolyU, said “It is an easy-to-follow exercise; each set will take about 8 to 10 minutes to complete. You can always workout at your own pace according to your physical condition.”


Check out this link to view the video of “Rehab 8 Forms”


COVID-19 survivors who are interested to join the upcoming research and take part in the “3R Rehabilitation Programme”, please contact the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at (852) 4623 3790 / 5598 4562.