Skip to main content

You are here


4. Upper body

In this video, we will guide you through some exercises to help strengthen your upper body. This involves using your hands, arms and shoulders.

On this page:


If you feel you can easily do the exercises at the level you have chosen, then consider moving up to the next level. If you feel like you’re struggling, move down a level, taking the exercises slower or doing fewer rounds of each exercise. You might do different exercises at different levels depending on how you feel. This could be different on different days.

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 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 the above or call 999 in an emergency.

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

Practising these exercises will help you achieve the goal(s) you have set for yourself. 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


Read a transcript of this video in:

In this video
00:05 Introduction
00:15 Bicep curls
00:55 Punching
01:28 Lateral raises

Next: Cool down →


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 BLF information production process.

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 03000 030 555 between 9am and 5pm on a weekday or email them.

Last medically reviewed: June 2021. Due for review: June 2021

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.