Blog post and podcast: How To Exercise If You Have Chronic Fatigue: Managing chronic fatigue syndrome with clinician and researcher Dr Nancy Klimas, by Dr. Michael Ruscio, July 14, 2020


Dr Nancy Klimas talks to Dr Michael Ruscio about ME & exercise.

Key Takeaways

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients should do very short exercise sessions (1-3 minutes), raising their heart rate no more than 30 beats per minute above their normal baseline.
  • Patients should rest to return heart rate to baseline between these short sessions.
  • Address oxidative stress, inflammation, and cell function to treat ME/CFS.
  • “You can’t rest your way out of this illness.”


In This Episode

About Dr. Nancy Klimas … 00:05:08
What is CFS? … 00:06:07
Is CFS a Post-Viral Illness? … 00:07:26
CFS Prevalence … 00:09:51
CFS Predispositions … 00:10:38
How to Exercise With CFS … 00:12:23
CFS Treatment Approach … 00:20:46
CFS Medications and Treatment … 00:24:58
Natural Anti-Virals … 00:28:40
New CFS Research … 00:30:57



Exercise Tips for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Physical activity can be very difficult for people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Even a small walk to the bathroom or the mailbox can leave them completely exhausted and bedridden, let alone 30 minutes of exercise.

Dr. Klimas explained that chronic fatigue patients have an extremely low aerobic threshold, and understanding this is key to creating an exercise regime that doesn’t leave them with a chronic fatigue flare up. “They’re much better doing short, but frequent exercise than to try to go longer on endurance.”

Key Exercise Tips:

  • Do short bouts of exercise with adequate rest in between to allow the heart rate to return to your baseline.
  • Keep heart rate within 30 beats per minute of your resting heart rate.
  • Let the patient be the guide.
  • Keep a log to track progress and understand flares.

She said, “You have to find this gentle way of moving them along and doing little short bits that they can tolerate. And then they’ll become more and more confident when they don’t crash, that they can do a little more…”

Listen to / or download the podcast and read more about ME/CFS from Dr Nancy Klimas

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