Trying to exercise while you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is difficult. You can’t do too much, but if you don’t do anything – it can make it harder to recover!
When you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, “exercise” is a four-letter word. Has anyone given you unsolicited advice to exercise more? It can feel frustrating to hear, but they really don’t know any better.
One of the key symptoms of CFS is difficulty recovering from exercise. Even if you manage to get back into exercise, it can still take much longer to recover than people who don’t have CFS.
So while traditional exercise may be a trigger word… movement is something completely different!
How I Exercise With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
I take a “less is more” approach to traditional exercise. Instead of trying to schedule workouts into my calendar or being sad I can’t go for a run, I focus on movement that feels good. This shift makes all the difference!
Many people can begin to move more and build strength in their bodies through gentle movement. It’s really important to just do what you can. I’ve tried to push it in an effort to get in shape, but then I felt terrible the next day (even though it felt good during!)
Here are some of my favorite methods of movement when struggling with CFS.
Stretching out feels so good when you spend most of the day resting. I especially like to stretch out my back and roll out on a foam roller.
Walking is free and simple! I love walking outside in nature because it clears my head and is a great stress reliever. My dog loves it too, so it’s easier to stick with every day.
It’s also nice because you can start and stop anytime. You can do it anywhere, as long as you are in a safe place. Have a routine each day like walking to the mailbox or walking down the street or walking your dog around the block can feel really good – physically AND mentally.
3. Autoimmune Strong
Autoimmune Strong is a subscription-based program developed for people with chronic pain and chronic illness. It’s not just for people with autoimmune disease. This is a truly gentle approach to building up strength. I’ve worked through the levels and I love this program. Highly recommend! You can find out more information here.
4. Gentle Yoga (Free Options On YouTube!)
Notice I said gentle. You may not want to hit up your local hot power yoga class and expect to keep up if you haven’t been working up to it. Start with maybe 5 or 10 minutes of gentle yoga that has easy postures.
There are a lot of options on YouTube. Here’s a tip: Look for the ones that mention nighttime or relaxing yoga. These sequences can be perfect for some of us with CFS.
Here are some of my favorites: