One of the diagnostic criteria for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is exercise intolerance. Still, we see ME/CFS warriors defying the odds and achieving their fitness goals.
Exercising with ME/CFS requires listening to your body’s slightest whispers. When you don’t feel up for the workout you’d planned, it’s a good idea to reign it in and choose an easier activity. It is recommended that ME/CFS Badasses are supervised by a physician who develops an individualized exercise program.
Some researchers advise ME/CFS warriors to avoid exercise that extends beyond the anaerobic threshold. The anaerobic threshold is roughly 85% of maximum heart rate, and it’s approximated on most heart rate monitors, including many smart watches. It can also be thought of as the pace you can sustain for an hour or the pace at which you start to feel out of breath.
For years, exercise was believed to cure ME/CFS, and patients were prescribed Graded Exercise Therapy. This protocol, which involves the gradual progression from active stretching to range-of-motion exercises and emphasizes rest and recovery, is still supported by the NHS, but some research is showing that its widespread implementation can be not only ineffective but also dangerous. Patients are advised to talk with an experienced health care professional.
While it seems that exercise isn’t the magic cure it was previously hoped to be, ME/CFS warriors who exercise may see a change in their perceived health. Basically, people who are able to workout can commune with their inner Badass a little more easily. This psychological benefit shouldn’t be under appreciated.
If you are an ME/CFS Badass, we’d love to learn what works for you! Please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org with your fitness tips and fatigue hacks.
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