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You Asked: ''How Can I Exercise With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?''

By , SparkPeople Blogger
It's important for people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) to work in conjunction with their health care providers to start a healthy, reasonable exercise program. Physical activity should be gentle and should be increased slowly over time (in terms of frequency, intensity and duration). Some good examples include yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, walking, stretching, light strength training and water exercise.

Let your doctor or physiotherapist be your guide when starting a fitness program. Here are some general suggestions:
  • Gradually work up to three workouts per week.
     
  • Pace yourself and listen to your body. Your tolerance to exercise will change often and day-to-day. Stop exercising before you feel exhausted.
     
  • Aerobic (cardio) exercise may or may not be for you. For some people with CFS, it worsens symptoms.
     
  • Exercise will be trial and error. Try to learn from your experiences. For example, if walking for 15 minutes worsens your symptoms, try walking for five minutes and see how that goes. It may be helpful to record your exercises and how you feel in a journal.
     
  • Remember to only start an exercise program after your doctor says it's okay. Hopefully he or she can also help monitor your symptoms and offer suggestions.

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Comments

JEANKNEE 10/12/2019
Appreciate this article. Although I do not have CFS, I have been diagnosed with a rare, complex chronic condition that is similar. A hallmark of the condition is what's termed PEM (Post Exertional Malaise) and exertion is not simply physical exertion. All exercise is presently off limits to me except very gentle stretching. I hope to eventually be able to take a walk again. Now, is not that time! It is important that those of us managing such conditions remain engaged with our health care team, assuming we are fortunate enough to have one! There are so many struggling with these conditions that remain undiagnosed and unsupported. For those of you that may be in that position, keep advocating for yourself! Report
BECCABOO127 5/2/2019
Great article. Thank u for highlighting this condition. Report
BECCABOO127 5/2/2019
Great article. Thank u for highlighting this condition. Report
MRSFIX2007 3/31/2019
Cardio makes my FMS worse. No matter what I do. So I've started strength training with body weight exercises for now. I'll add weights and/or bands once I'm able to progress to that level. Gardening is also something that I do in the warmer months for exercise. I'm looking into pilates and alternative forms of *yoga* as I think that might help with muscle strength and flexibility while not raising my heart rate too much. It's the heart rate jumping up that really can cause my symptoms to flare in a matter of hours. Report
SPINECCO 11/10/2018
Thanks! Report
Interesting article. Report
With proper diet and exercise my CFS is gone! Report
Thanks Report
NANAW12001
Thanks for the great information. Report
Thank you Report
Nice article. Thx! Report
NASFKAB
Helpful post Report
Thank you Report
Thank you. Report
NASFKAB
Just do what I am able to thanks for pointing it out Report
It is difficult to do, but even gentle exercises help. Report
SPARKNELG
As someone afflicted with CFS/CFIDS, I can vouch that pushing yourself beyond what your body will let you do that day will result in a worsening of symptoms and can render someone helpless for days, weeks, or months. Post-exertional malaise is a hallmark of this disease. Stopping when one feels tired can mean that it's already too late. It's important to recognize that it's not the person's fault. It's not a lack of will power or failure to try to do a little more each day. It's a real syndrome/disease with a yet unknown cause. A recent study showed that CFIDS individuals that exercise showed an increase of bad bacteria in the gut that caused an autoimmune/inflammation response. That may explain why exercising makes us worse. Until there is more research and hopefully a cure, the best thing to do is whatever your body will allow for that day and make sure to rest and relax. Report
Very helpful for those with cancer too. I am in my last cycle (I hope!) of chemo, and unfortunately have gained weight over the course of treatment. I am now slowly working my way back to working out. Walking a 1/2 mile to 1 mile depending on how I feel that day. It has really helped! I plan to incorporate weights soon. Report
"Pace yourself and listen to your body." Pace indeed. It's okay to start really, really slowly. I started at one minute a day. Next day, two minutes. Then three. Honest! The next week, four and five minutes. And so on.
At first, I did "exercises" in bed. Starting with head lifting on the way to something that slightly resembles a crunch. Leg lifts, arms. Before long I was excising out of bed. Oh boy!
Just start. Just start and do a little bit more today than you did yesterday.
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