Exercise Tips for Chronic Fatigue Sufferers
If you have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), once-simple acts, such as getting up and making breakfast, could be too daunting for you to face. You may have to take a sabbatical from your job or leave it indefinitely.
This change in lifestyle could be accompanied by clinical depression, not to mention a long diagnostic process to ensure you actually do have CFS and not something else.
While antidepressants, sleeping pills, and various therapies are a usual part of the treatment process (based on your symptoms), a change of lifestyle could be in order, too.
Just the thought of trying something new could exhaust you even more – but what if it helps? What if you could return to the activities you used to enjoy? What if you could go back to work again, even if only part-time?
Exercise is one of many treatment options available for this debilitating condition, and has far fewer side effects than pills.
Why Exercise Works
Your doctor should assign you to a physical therapist to tailor a specific program to you, and especially if you were inactive before your CFS started, you will need to exercise with care to ensure you don’t become overtired.
To start, keep a log of your fatigue to assess possible patterns. As opposed to what you might assume, you don’t want to expend a lot of energy in times when you feel better because you could quickly drain yourself and set yourself back again.
Once you have researched your own habits, you will design a program, although it could vary greatly from any exercises you did before the onset of CFS (more on that in the next section). Your new routine will be designed to give you the following benefits:
- Increase strength
- Improve flexibility
- Reduce muscle pain
- Improve memory and mental function
- Restore self-confidence
5 Exercises You Can Add to Your Routine Again
Even if you enjoyed rigorous aerobic workouts before, your current condition could make the simple operation of a vacuum cleaner too much aerobic activity for you to handle now.
This is why doctors concentrate on lower-impact, anaerobic exercises, which should reduce the chances of debilitation for days after exercising.
You should not try to come up with an exercise program on your own.
With a physical therapist who is familiar with the symptoms and severity of your CFS, you can start slow (and the exact exercise depends on whether you have other conditions or were inactive before CFS) and increase the difficulty over time.
Each exercise you perform will be short in duration and followed by a longer interval of rest (sets of thirty seconds and one minute, for example), and no workout should last longer than 20 minutes.
The following exercises may not be appropriate for every CFS patient, but your level of fatigue and improvement will dictate how much further you can go.
- Stretching, including lying hamstring and lower back stretches
- Riding a bicycle or stationary bike
- Low-resistance exercises, such as modified push-ups, step-ups, and crunches