Those of us with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome know fully well from experience that we have substantial worsening of our symptoms after exercise. We definitely don’t need any research study done to prove that! But there was a study conducted on this subject by the Department of Neurosciences, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – New Jersey Medical School, USA; Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, the University of Tokyo, Japan.
Even though it has been explored before that symptoms worsen after exercise, this study was conducted to show the time course over which these worsening symptoms develop. The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of exercise on subjective symptoms and on cognitive function in CFS patients in natural settings using a computerized ecological momentary assessment method, which allowed researchers to track the effects of exercise within and across days.
Subjects used for this study included 9 CFS female patients and 9 healthy female subjects. A watch-type computer was used to collect real-time data on physical and psychological symptoms and cognitive function for 1 week before and 2 weeks after a maximal exercise test. For each variable, researchers investigated temporal changes after exercise using multilevel modeling.
After exercise, it was shown that physical symptoms do get worse but not until a five-day delay in CFS patients. There was no difference in the temporal pattern of changes in psychological symptoms or in cognitive function after exercise between CFS patients and controls.
Physical symptoms worsened after several days delay in patients with CFS following exercise while psychological symptoms or cognitive function did not change after exercise.