Sunday, April 09, 2006

Exercise and CFIDS in the Real World

With the nice spring weather that's recently arrived, I'm inspired to try to increase my stamina a bit. I know I've lost a lot of muscle tone in the past few years, and my exercise capacity is quite low right now. Before CFIDS struck, I exercised hard and loved the feeling of strength and energy it gave me. I want to improve my stamina a bit, so I can hike with my family this spring and summer and enjoy our camping trips and vacations.

Theoretically, it seems simple: walk a short distance each day, gradually increasing, and do very brief sets throughout the day with light weights to try to rebuild some muscle. Unfortunately, this is almost impossible with the constraints of CFIDS in my everyday life. I think I could easily improve my level of conditioning if that was all I had to do each day.

But with CFIDS, every movement, every moment on my feet "counts" as exertion. I can only handle a limited amount of exertion each day, and it's almost always used up by the basic activities necessary to take care of myself and my family.

Taking a shower counts as exertion, doing a load of laundry, making meals - however simple, and doing dishes. Once I've taken care of these basic needs, there's often no capacity left for focused exercise that could help to improve my stamina instead of using it up. On a good day, when I might be able to take a walk or do some easy weight training, I instead need to go to the grocery store or handle other errands while I'm able to.

It's very frustrating. I was determined to start some easy weights today, but here I am with aching knees that signal I've already done too much for today. I guess making breakfast and washing dishes was it. I still need to somehow get through dinner preparation and clean-up this evening, too.

For me, the exercise/exertion intolerance is the worst part of CFIDS. I also believe this is at the heart of this unique illness and that understanding this bizarre phenomenon will ultimately help to unravel its mysteries. For now, though, I sit here in the recliner, with the footrest cranked as high as it will go, and hope that I'll make it through dinner tonight without completely crashing.


  1. Just came across your blog :)
    I think its amazing how mother still manage all the mothery thing with CFIDS, Truly amazing. I quess u have to think of the shopping bags AS your wieghts! I hope u an yor son have a good day!

  2. Thanks for reading my blog - and for the kind wishes, Angel. It is hard some days to take care of the kids when I feel bad...but they also bring me a lot of joy and help to pull me out of too much self-pity!


  3. Anonymous9:24 AM

    You've probably already seen this, but in case you haven't -