When managing a condition like chronic fatigue syndrome, it may be extremely difficult to muster up any energy for exercise. Some current research on CFS and exercise warn against “graded exercise” because it may worsen symptoms. The following letter is one written by Mary Ann in response to a SIT AND BE FIT viewer who was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. It reflects Mary Ann’s experience managing this condition. 

Dear friend,

It may take some time to get over chronic fatigue syndrome, but hang in there and respect what your body is telling you.

I speak from personal experience, as I had the same condition between 1988 and 1992. I came back partly due to my own SIT AND BE FIT program. We had taped sixty shows prior to my getting ill and our PBS station just kept re-running them. One day as I watched the program, I listened to myself say to the television audience, “If you can roll a shoulder, then there is something in this program that you can do. There is no excuse not to exercise!” It was like a light bulb going off in my head and I took my own advice and did a minute or two of the program. I was exhausted, but overall I noticed that I felt better. I repeated the process each day, gradually doing more as I was able. There were many times that I overdid it and had to start over.

If you get the SIT AND BE FIT program on television each day, try doing just a minute or two of the warm-up. If you don’t suffer any set-backs, continue to gradually add a minute or two each day but don’t rush it. Just persevere and keep adding a minute each day.

Keep a journal. Log in the date and record how much exercise you do each day, how you feel as you exercise, and how you feel afterwards. If you get to the point that the exercise wipes you out, skip a day of exercise and resume at the pace when you last felt good after exercising. If you are still wiped out, go back to doing a minute or two, as though you were just starting out and gradually work up slowly again.

You may take two steps forward and one step back but that is normal. Just don’t beat yourself up over it. You will gradually work up to a full workout. If you do not get the television program five days a week, you might consider our Fibromyalgia Specialty Workout tape or DVD (it uses a 9 to 12 inch ball) and doing it on the days you do not get the television program. Just remember that you are going to have to baby yourself and LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! Getting better is not going to happen overnight but don’t get discouraged. It will happen, if you take your cues from your body and think positive.

If you are having trouble sleeping, you may want to get our CD or audiotape “Healing Relaxation Prelude to Sleep”. I designed it as a result of my bout with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Try to find ways to boost your immune system. Watch one funny television show a day or rent a funny movie. This is one great way to give your immune system a boost. Check into what may have lowered your immune system…allergies, stress, sensitivity to certain foods. You may consider trying acupuncture, getting regular massages, meditating or anything else that might be suggested through your conversations or reading.

-Mary Ann

Many physicians view exercise as a form of medication and a vital part of rehabilitation for those who are managing chronic fatigue. According to the American Council on Exercise, exercise programs for those managing CFS are not much different than any other comprehensive exercise program which should include strengthening and range-of-motion training. The primary difference is the pace and degree of progression: CFS patients need to build their strength and adapt to the increased demands of exercise. SIT AND BE FIT is provides an excellent exercise routine for those managing chronic fatigue because it allows participants to move at their own pace, while strengthening their bodies. As with any other conditions, those managing chronic fatigue should consult with their doctor before starting any exercise program.  Click on these pages to view information and exercises that may help Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Energy for your “Get-up-and-Go”, bed exercises and Fibromyalgia exercises.

Recommended SIT AND BE FIT Workouts for exercise with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: