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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Using Graded Exercise to Get More Energy

You may be thinking, "How can I exercise when I'm so tired I can barely get through the day?" You can do it, as long as you start out very slowly and are careful not to overexert yourself. Most important, it will make you feel better.

Studies show that light aerobic exercise, such as walking, helps people who have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) feel more energetic and less tired.1 Maybe you have avoided exercise because you're afraid it will make you feel worse. But the opposite is true. Total rest leaves your body in worse shape. It can also hurt your self-image by making you feel as if you can't do anything for yourself.

what.gif What is graded exercise?
why.gif Why do I need a graded exercise program?
how.gif How can I start an exercise program?
where.gif Where to go from here

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Citations

  1. Reid S, et al. (2011). Chronic fatigue syndrome, search date March 2010. BMJ Clinical Evidence. Available online: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.

  2. U.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 Consulted

  • Togo 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.

  • White PD, et al. (2011). Comparison of adaptive pacing therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy, graded exercise therapy, and specialist medical care for chronic fatigue syndrome (PACE): A randomised trial. Lancet, 377(9768): 823–826.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerNancy Greenwald, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Last RevisedJanuary 18, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 18, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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