I need to set up an exercise program for a friend of mine who is suffering from ME (mialgic encephalitis). I think this is called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in the States. Any guidelines for exercise programming would be most helpful.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), is a vague term, and can have numerous causes…
- Anything that the body perceives as stress has repercussions on the body by way of excess stress hormones (i.e. cortisol, adrenaline, insulin, etc.). It will be important for your friend to find more “Quiet Time” for her/himself.
LACK OF SLEEP
- Research has shown that the average body operates most efficiently on 9-12 hours of sleep per night (depending on the season).
- Musculoskeletal injuries left untreated, particularly spinal injuries, can have stressful repercussions on the rest of the body’s systems.
- It is important that your friend learn her/his metabolic type (MT) as soon as possible. When the body consumes the incorrect TYPES & RATIOS of the three macronutrients (I.E. Carbs, Proteins, & Fats), over time, any number of systemic failures can occur. This includes CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME. Please read The Metabolic Typing Diet by Wolcott.
- Environmental toxins such as: air, noise, and artificial lights.
- Dietary toxins such as: CAFFEINE, refined sugar and processed foods, pesticide and herbicide residues, etc.
- Drug toxins such as: NSAIDS, and/or prescription meds.
- Chemical toxins such as chlorinated, fluoridated water, or polluted water; and chemicals at the work place.
To have an official diagnosis of CFS is a fairly serious situation. The body is trying to communicate that it needs time to heal and recover. I would in no way recommend beginning an aggressive strength and/or cardio training programs initially, as this would most likely exacerbate the condition. Perhaps have her/him begin with a parasympathetic approach by taking some Yoga, Qi-Gong, Tai-Chi, or Pilates classes. These classes are aimed at harvesting life-force to increase overall vitality. She or he may also want to try hiking, walking, or swimming (in non-chlorinated waters).
In the mean-time, if she/he is truly interested in getting better, I would suggest sending her/him to an ND (Doctor of Naturopathy), and/or a CHEK-NLC (CHEK Institute - Certified Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach), for a full evaluation. Nothing in the body occurs in isolation, OR overnight. The conditions that created your friend’s CFS have been manifesting for some time now, probably years. I’m not sure what country you’re residing in, but, below are links to find an ND or NLC nearest you.
LIST OF N.D.'s -www.healthy.net/asp/Associations/aanp.asp
LIST OF CHEK-NLC's - www.chekinstitute.com/prac.cfm
Noah Hittner, BS, CHEK-NLC, PES, RTS, CPT
Founder - "FOUR HEALTH" Nutrition, Fitness, and Lifestyle Coaching