Exercising with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Living with chronic fatigue is tiring not only for the mind, but for the body as well. High endurance exercises can leave you feeling exhausted for days. I always tell my patients with chronic fatigue to take it easy when trying to keep fit and active— go at YOUR OWN pace, and view your workouts as a means to unwind and clear your mind, not as a strenuous sweat session.

         Here are a few exercises & tips I recommend for those struggling with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:

  1. Keep a journal of your daily fitness activity. Symptoms with CFS range from day-to-day. Some days you have close to normal energy levels; other days are hard to even get out of bed. A journal will help you understand these cycles and what fitness level to use on various days.
  2. Slow and steady wins the race—meaning, take your time. Don’t hurry and burn yourself out. If you can only handle a 15-minute walk one day, then so be it. Add a minute more tomorrow.
  3. Try a light yoga or Pilate’s routine. Stretching with a focus on breath will help manage stress and allow you to be more in touch with your body.
  4. Water activity is a great way to increase your heart rate without going overboard. And since it is summer, head over to the pool on a nice, sunny day for a light & refreshing swim.
  5. Tai Chi is an alternative method from the Western world practiced primarily in China. Tai Chi is great for those with chronic fatigue because it is a light form of exercise that not only improves your flexibility but your general state of being.


Remember the most important takeaway here is that everyday is different when it comes to strength and energy levels. Listen to your body and remind yourself to go easy. Make a goal to reach 3 days of fitness activity a week, whatever that may be. The goal is to keep your heart, your body, and (most importantly) your mind healthy.