I have chronic fatigue syndrome, which makes exercise difficult. Any suggestions?
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. SparkPeople has articles on all of these forms of exercise in the Fitness Resource Center.
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.
Written by Nicole Nichols, Certified Fitness Instructor
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