Regular Exercise Shows Promise in Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

While battling chronic fatigue syndrome may make regular exercise seem like it could make a sufferer even more tired, that’s not the findings of a new study, which implicate a sufferer’s fear of exercise as more detrimental to the condition than the physical activity itself.

According to researchers out of Kings College London, who conducted the study published in a recent issue of the journal The Lancet, regular exercise in combination with certain behavioral therapy techniques actually showed the most promise in treating chronic fatigue syndrome, and it came with overcoming fear related to exercise induced fatigue.

“They found that reduction in fear avoidance beliefs’ was the main factor – contributing up to 60 per cent of the overall effect of the two therapies,” reports the Independent.

While some of chronic fatigue sufferers have indicated that “too much” exercise can exacerbate the exhaustion, but most of the issues were rooted in a fear that committing to regular exercise could make the condition worse, even when it didn’t.

Sonya Chowdhury, CEO of the charity Action for ME, told the Independent: “This does not mean that ME or CFS is a psychological illness... Nor do we believe that people with ME are afraid of taking part in appropriate activity or exercise – appropriate activity might involve a short walk or, for someone with severe ME, small movements of even sitting up in bed.”

Chronic fatigue syndrome was once questioned by a number of physicians who viewed it more as a psychological issue rather than a physical one. That opinion has changed, with physicians actively seeking to treat the condition and reduce its symptoms. Gradual exercise increases are being used to treat some patients effectively while others still say they see no benefit.

There is still no known cause for chronic fatigue syndrome and no treatment, only symptom management techniques.

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