Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) refers to a group of disorders commonly characterized by extreme tiredness (fatigue) that lasts for a long time and restricts the ability to perform everyday chores. Muscle aches, body ache and joint pains may also be noted in individuals suffering from CFS. Long-term physical inactivity can further complicate the symptoms of CFS and have detrimental effects on mood, energy level and an increase in the occurrence of other related disorders. A guided exercise program is the usually recommended intervention in such fatigue conditions. 1
In patients with CFS, a guided exercise program (that involves monitoring and documenting a person’s daily activity levels to establish a threshold point for experiencing chronic fatigue symptoms) was found to be an effective treatment in improving exercise and functional capacity, reducing fatigue syndromes and improving daily function.2
In a review of several studies by researcher M. Edmonds with the Cochrane Collaboration research group, both fatigue and quality of life in individuals suffering from CFS were shown to be improved with three months of health fitness exercise therapy. Patients who were on health fitness exercise therapy were less fatigued, less depressed, had better physical functioning, slept better and were able to work better, compared with patients who did not exercise. Compared to patients who were taking antidepressant as their only therapy, those who exercised had lesser fatigue and a better quality of life.3
- Wallman KE, Morton AR, Goodman C, Grove R. Exercise Prescription for Individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Med J Aust. 2005; 183(3): 142–143.
- Greenberg S, Frid M. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome—Exercise and Physical Activity. Harefuah. 2006; 145(4): 276–2780, 318. Article in Hebrew.
- Exercise Therapy for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Available online at: http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab003200.html. Accessed on: 12 Jan 09.