A person with CFS needs a gentle approach to physical activity and should only make tiny increases in the frequency, duration and intensity of their exercise program.
Be guided by your doctor or physiotherapist, but general suggestions include:
- Aim for no more than three exercise sessions per week.
- Experiment to find the type of exercise that works best for you. Choose from a range of gentle activities such as stretching, yoga, Tai Chi, walking and light weight training.
- Stretching seems to be well tolerated by people with CFS. You may prefer to perform your stretching program while lying down in bed.
- Aerobic exercise seems to cause relapses for many people with CFS. If this is true for you, try non-aerobic forms of exercise like weight training with light weights.
- Learn from past relapses. For example, if walking for 20 minutes worsened your symptoms, try walking for five minutes and see how that goes. It may be helpful to keep a diary to keep track of what works and what doesn’t.
- Stop the physical activity well before you feel tired. Pacing yourself is very important.
- Remember that your exercise tolerance will differ from one day to the next.
- Listen to your body – if you don’ t feel up to exercising on a particular day, don’t.
- Only slowly increase the intensity, time spent or frequency of exercise when you know you can cope with it. For example, if you can exercise for five minutes without suffering a relapse, try for six minutes.