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Some doctors may recommend a graded exercise program as part of your treatment plan for myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). This type of therapy doesn't work for everyone with ME/CFS. More research is needed to better understand how well this treatment works for ME/CFS.
Graded exercise starts out slowly and increases in very small steps. If your fatigue is severe, this can mean starting out with 1 minute of gentle movement, like stretching. And it means that you have a plan and you stay with it, even when you're having a good day and feel like doing more. This helps your body make the changes it needs to cope with activity and exercise.
Work with your doctor to make a specific plan for your needs and abilities. But there also are things you can do on your own.
Walking is an excellent form of aerobic exercise for people who have ME/CFS. Other gentle exercises, such as stretching, riding a bicycle or stationary bike, or swimming, are also good. Try to find a balance so that you are moving or exercising enough to benefit from it but not so much that you get overtired. Here are some things to think about:
CitationsU.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2008). 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (ODPHP Publication No. U0036). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Available online: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/default.aspx.Other Works ConsultedTogo F, et al. (2010). Sleep is not disrupted by exercise in patients with chronic fatigue syndromes. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 42(1): 16-22.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Current as ofNovember 29, 2017
Current as of: November 29, 2017
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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