Exercise and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Myalgic Encephenilities and exercise.

I’ll tell you first that exercise as you currently think about it is impossible.  But I’ll also tell you some sort of exercise is vital.

This is a lot of duff advise about exercise and M.E. out there, don’t follow any advice until you understand your condition.  I’ll also say there’s a lot of duff diagnosis out there.  This advice is for people who have M.E., and have understood and accepted the diagnosis.  By accept I mean you have accepted the diagnosis and started to recognize and understand your limits.  This took me years.  I also understand that I did too much because I didn’t understand the disease – nor was I able to separate it or get any from the CF/S label.  Having done to much and tried too hard I did myself more harm than good.

If you have Chronics Fatigue get advice for the condition that is causing your particular fatigue.  If instance if you are recovering from an operation or cancer treatment – your fatigue is particular to you situation.  The label CFS doesn’t help; but there are experts out there for Chronic Fatigue who can tailor their advice.

For M.E. you will find that movement is either painful or difficult due to fatigue, numbness or pain.  If you don’t move however the pain will get worse and in the long you run you’ll do more harm to your body by not moving.

Set realistic limits and boundaries.  A simple thing is to say I will get up and stretch everyday.  Not always convenient, but if you set aside a slot of time for yourself then it is possible to do gentle stretching.  I find a hot bath helps; although these days I admit I’m to fatigue to bother with baths.  An hour after breakfast when your Brain is just begging to kick in is a good time.

So what exercise do I do? None.  Not real exercise anyway; one day I might get there but not yet.

5 minutes is a sensible time limit.  I recently attended the EPP (Expert Patient Programme) which I was referred to by my doctor.  I’d recommend it, they can help you make the right choices.  So 5 minutes as the time limit – but you must also set a boundary.

On the EPC one patient had set the target of walking around the block once everyday.  She said this ‘should’ take her 5 minutes.  Good goal?  Wrong she didn’t consider how slowly she walked.  In fact it took an exhausting 25 minutes.

if you set yourself both a boundary and a limit you should be more comfortable.

“I aim to walk around the block; I will set a limit of 5 minutes and measure my progress by the number of lampposts.  If I canout achieve my aim today I will stop at the nearest lamppost and turn back.”

When you set out allow time for the outward and homeward journey.  1 lamppost and back first day; maybe two the next.  That’s 2.5 mins. out and 2.5 mins. back.  Goal for the day achieved – 5 minutes exercise! 

Maybe the goal will change and stick at 5 lampposts as the limit (allow for the time limit – remember you might be slower the next day).  There is no rules against changing your goals; or adjusting them if you are unwell – or too busy with something else.  If you’ve had to drag yourself out shopping that’s more than 5 minutes activity – jobdone, no need for anymore, tick in the box and put the kettle on!

Oneday you might get half way round the block and instead of turning back – the quicker way home is forward.

To be honest I don’t even manage a walk out every day; I’ve let that goal slip.  But I do not beat myself up about it!  It all depends what life is throwing at you?  Personally I glad to be up and about.  Stretching at least once a day and keeping mobile around the house.

With M.E. any energy you should have isn’t there; what you have must be rationed.  But you must use it!  Staying immobile  too long could kill you.

My exercise for today is stretching; this Blog – warms up my brain (uses a mass of energy though!); then I have to use what is left to cope with life.  After dealing with the post and the anxiety it brings there’s nothing left, but at least I still moving!

You can also get some good advice from Physio or Pain Management.  They recommended Resistance Exercise Bands.  A sort of rubber sheet with graded strength – a great supplement to basic stretching; they have no weight but can be used to add some resistance and help build up or maintain strength. Resistance Exercise Bands




About Max

Poet, Creative Writer, Essayist, Political Opinionist and Reviewer. Rock and Roll fix it man with two guitars, a spanner, some glue and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis! Michael aka Max struggles to balance his continued ill luck with the limits of his condition. He also is acutely aware of the difficulties facing M.E. suffers who are abused by the system. In addition to poetry and historical fiction Michael also writes delightful and original children’s stories. He is also considering the completion of the first installment of his imaginative historically accurate stories of ex-pats stranded far from home in Asia during War World II, ‘The Orange Dragon of Old Hanoi’ (Copyright 2007, 2014). ‘The Long Hard Highway’ is a collection of poems by aspiring British poet, writer and researcher of historical fiction, and children's author Michael J. Wormald. Self published for the first time on Amazon Kindle 2013. The Call of the Thunder Dragon Novel out now View all posts by Max

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