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Exercise Can Benefit Chronic Fatigue, Study Finds

  [ 192 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • March 9, 2005

A belief that exercise is dangerous for chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers is holding many back from managing their illness, according to Auckland University research. The illness affects about one per cent of the population and is characterised by debilitating fatigue, headaches, sleep disturbance and muscle pain. The research, published in the latest Journal of Health Psychology in Britain, involved putting 49 participants put in two groups for a 12-week period. Half were put through an exercise programme and had standard medical care, while the other half received just standard medical care. University health psychologist Rona Moss-Morris, who was the principal investigator in the study, said 68 per cent of the exercise patients in the study rated their 12-week treatment as better or much better than any other treatment they had received to date. Fifty-five per cent of the exercise group rated their health as having improved, while only 24 per cent in the other group said they had improved after the 12 weeks. The exercise group also reported they were less mentally and physically fatigued and these gains were maintained at a six-month follow up. Dr Moss-Morris said she believed secondary care for those suffering chronic fatigue was not provided to an adequate level in New Zealand. "They are often left untreated, yet only a small percentage appear to get better without help," she said. "We hope this research shows that interventions, such as an exercise programme, can go a long way towards helping people reduce their fatigue levels." Dr Moss-Morris said people with chronic fatigue should exercise consistently rather than doing too much on a good day and too little on a bad day. She said the results of the research contradicted a common belief among chronic fatigue sufferers that exercise could actually aggravate the symptoms. Source:,2106,3206165a7144,00.html

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