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Acute effects of thirty minutes of light-intensity, intermittent exercise on patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

  [ 104 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • August 1, 1999

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Currently, there is no consensus on exercise prescription for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). This investigation examined whether light-intensity, intermittent physical activity exacerbated symptoms in patients with CFS immediately following exercise to 7 days following exercise. Subjects. Subjects were 9 women (mean age=44.2 years, SD=8.4, range=29-56; mean weight=74.2 kg, SD=18.8, range=56.36-110.91; and mean height=1.63 m, SD=0.8, range=1.55-1.78) and 1 man (age=48 years, weight=97.1 kg, and height= 1.98 m) who met the Centels for Disease Control and Prevention's criteria fi)r (FS.

METHODS: Subjects performed 10 discontinuous 3-minute exercise bouts (separated by 3 minutes of recovery) at a self-selected, comfortable walking pace on a treadmill. Oxygen consumption, minute ventilation, respiratory exchange ratio, and heart rate were measured every minute during the exercise session. To assess degree of disability, general health status, activity level, symptoms, and mood, subjects completed various questionnaires before and after exercise.

RESULTS: Results indicated that degree of disability, general health status, symptoms, and mood did not change immediately and up to 7 days following exercise.

CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION: Thirty minutes of intermittent walking did not exacerbate symptoms in subjects with CFS. The physiological data did not show any abnormal response to exercise. Although this study did not determine whether 30 minutes of continuous versus intermittent exercise would exacerbate symptoms, all 10 subjects felt that they could not exercise continuously for 30 minutes without experiencing symptom exacerbation. Despite this limitation, the results indicate that some individuals with CFS may be able to use low-level, intermittent exercise without exacerbating their symptoms.

Clapp LL, Richardson MT, Smith JF, Wang M, Clapp AJ, Pieroni RE

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