Nicole Nichols, SparkPeople
Nicole shares her thoughts on being able to exercise if you suffer with chronic fatigue symdrome.
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 (ie: Aqua Zumba).
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. If your body allows.
- Pace yourself. Your tolerance to exercise will change often and day-to-day. Stop exercising before you feel exhausted.
- Listen to your body.
- 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.
About the Author
Nicole Nichols, C.P. T. is a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor’s degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople’s fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as “Coach Nicole.” Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.