Is EXERCISE possible with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome /M.E.?!


Hey guys, how you doing? Hope you’re doing well, my name is Raelan and this is my first ever YouTube video Oh A little bit terrifying but also kind of exciting so today I’m gonna be talking about chronic fatigue syndrome and exercise Now the reason this is important is because I had chronic fatigue syndrome for about ten years and when I did finally get past it exercise was a big part of my Recovery, it wasn’t the only thing but it was a vital piece and I do strongly believe that without exercise I would never have recovered I’ll admit when I first thought of doing a video about exercise and chronic fatigue syndrome I had visions in my head of people out there with chronic fatigue syndrome mustering up what little energy they had and suiting up in full sniper gear and Coming to hunt me down because I know this can be a sensitive and controversial and polarizing topic and with good reason But I did finally wait find a way to make it work for me And I’m really excited to share all of that with you today to start Just let me say I know that there are different terms that people use to refer to this illness Refer to it as chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS I know that some people refer to it as M II or myalgic encephalitis a cephalo ammolite I’m not actually entirely sure to be honest, which is probably why I use CFS So for this video, I’m gonna be referring to it as that and I also want to let you know that I am NOT a doctor or a Certified health professional of any kind. I’m not a fitness trainer. I’m just someone who had CFS and Figured out a way to recover from it So I want to share my experience But none of this should be construed as medical advice and you should absolutely talk to your doctor and do your own research Before determining if anything that I talked about might be right for you, okay? Let’s get started So my learning curve when it came to a CFS and exercise was pretty steep I had to figure out how to do enough exercise that I was helping my body recover But not push too far and get to the point where I was causing my body damage Which turned out to be an incredibly fine line to determine and lt’s for misjudging that could be huge So today i’m going to share with you the things that I learned over a period of about 18 months That’s how long it took me from when I first started with my exercise program Until I got to a point where I was feeling really super strong and could just really push their work So any workout I wanted at the gym. No problem So during that time I learned things to speed up recovery minimize downtime after exercise and eventually eliminate those nasty health crashes that can so often be a part of exercise with chronic fatigue syndrome Also, this is not going to be one of those workout videos where I talk about how to get big and bulky at the gym Clearly I’m not an expert on that not yet. Anyways, there’s still time But what I’m gonna be talking about today is exercise Specifically to be used to recover from CFS. Alright, so today’s video is gonna have three parts The first part is going to be talking about the things that you need to change before you even get started with your exercise program part two It’s gonna be the things you need to learn to help your body recover And then part three Arkan is gonna be the things to actually do while carrying out your exercise program alright So let’s dive right in Part one change these things before you even think about getting started change Number one is going to be that you need to set up your life for success because exercise with chronic fatigue syndrome It’s going to probably take up a lot of space in your life Not the actual exercise itself, but the recovery and everything else that comes along with it So if you’re trying to just add exercise in on top of everything else that you’ve already got going on it’s probably not gonna go very well that you’re going to need to find ways to minimize your obligations and the Responsibilities that you have and I know this mat sounds tough to accomplish but I really think you’re gonna need to get creative and figure out ways to Simplify your life so you can just focus almost completely on this exercise program So whether that’s if you’re working cutting back hours at work or being at peace with using up all your sick days or vacation time For me it meant actually quitting my job entirely for a while It’s going to depend where you are on your healing journey how much you have to scale? And with the help of family members and friends Get them to help out with child care Household duties such as cleaning and cooking and grocery shopping if you can manage it Paying for some people to help out with some of these things would be really good cuz you’re gonna need time to Experiment and test your body’s limits and see what works for you and if you wake up one morning the day after exercise That’s when it always hit me the hardest and you can’t get out of bed Till noon or later that needs to be okay, so whatever you can do Minimize your responsibilities and increase the support you have in your life the second thing you’re going to need to change is to change your mindset now what that’s gonna look like is first I Start changing the way you think about exercise and focus on what you can’t do because in the beginning again Depending on where you are in your healing journey. It might be very small it might only be one minute of exercise per day or one minute every second day and It might start to feel a little bit and we’re like it’s not getting you anywhere But you need to focus on those things that you are doing and it may be last week. You weren’t doing anything at all so the fact that you’re doing this now is Huge and maybe next week you’ll be able to do one minute every single day or maybe even two minutes every single day So if you keep your focus on that trajectory of where you’re going That will keep you motivated and positive and on track with your plan another part of switching your mindset is going to be Surrendering to your limitations because continually pushing past what you are physically capable of doing will likely keep you sick forever Trust me, I’ve tried Denial is not your friend here. This is not a case of mind over matter You don’t just need to push harder you really need to assess and Accept physically where you’re at and stay right there start so incredibly small However, small you’re thinking in your head that you have to start tall that back by a hundred and start there. So learn to value consistency over intensity and learn from your mistakes quickly and adjust your program and Another piece of changing your mindset before you get started is to remember that vanity cannot all be your motivator here I know that some of us when we think about starting to exercise we start thinking about you know Different ways our bodies gonna look and if all the external stuff that’s gonna happen, you know, I’m gonna lose weight I’m gonna fit into that shirt that hasn’t fit for like two years I’m gonna impress people at the gym with my amazing workouts and get some nice six-pack abs But this is not what this is about and in the beginning the external Visible changes will likely be very small because with only one minute of exercise per day or every second day You’re not making dramatic changes in how you look but dramatic things will be happening on the inside so that’s what you need to remember and Rest assured if you stick with this in the long term the best body you’ve ever had in your life will be waiting for you at the finish line, so That’s part one the things you need to change before you even get started to set your life up for success by increasing your support and minimizing obligations and responsibilities and Switch your mindset by focusing on what you can do surrendering to your limitations and remembering that vanity cannot be your motivator Part two thing is you need to learn that will help your body recover while you’re exercising with CFS Initially your body might feel like it’s raging against all forms of exercise exercise something that should feel a healthy and natural for most people when you have CFS can feel toxic and I definitely learned during my Journey with exercise and CFS that there were things that I can do to support my body to dramatically change the way my body Reacted to exercise So these four things are what I found were to be complete game changers in that department. The first part of that is stretching When I had CFS something was happening in my body where I felt incredibly tight and sore Almost all of the time and I quickly learned that the more that I stretched the better that I felt so I stretched before my workouts after my workouts and then Every single night before I went to bed and if I couldn’t sleep in the middle of the night I might get up and Stretch some more and if this is too much for you to get started if you can’t manage some exercise and the stretching then in The beginning just stretch the second thing is pain management My experience with the is that when I started exercising My body was in all sorts of pain So I discovered pretty quickly that I needed to start doing things to decrease all of this and for me The biggest thing that helped with pain management was actually fairly simple and cheap It was hot water. I started taking so many hot baths that I was sure that when this was all done I was never gonna want to take another hot bath again before I would get into the bathtub my body would be achy and sore and restless and just Generally in a bad place and after soaking in a hot tub for a while by the time I got out I felt So much better so much less pain and relaxed I was able to sleep better and get the recovery that I needed and Just like with the stretching if I woke up in the middle of the night and pain once again Then I would get up and take another hop off. It’s a lot a hot bath is a lot of stretching. It’s not awesome I didn’t love it, but you know what? I love less 1014 years with chronic fatigue syndrome So the baths and the stretching seem like a small price to pay to get my life back The next thing and helping your body recover is to sleep get good quality sleep Every single night as much as possible sleep at any cost this needs to be your mantra so Whether it’s someone next to you who’s snoring? Or moving around and it’s keeping you up at night or perhaps your room is too brightly lit or it’s too loud Or your bed is uncomfortable, whatever it is You’re gonna have to take some measures to ensure that you’re getting the sleep that you need whether that means Sleeping in a separate bedroom from your partner. I know people don’t love this idea. I had to do it for a while I didn’t love it, but I just remembered that the goal was to get me better and getting me better in the end was gonna be the best possible thing for my Relationship so you might need to sleep with an eye mask earplugs Maybe get some blackout blinds installed in your room if you can afford it. You might have to get a new bed If you do all of these things and you’re still not sleeping You might have to go see your doctor and see if they think that some sedatives or something might be Helpful for you in the short term. Just whatever you do Make sure your not sleep every single day And the last thing that dramatically helped my body to recover from exercise I know a lot of people aren’t going to want to hear this one It was such a game-changer that I think if you’re serious about getting well you need to think seriously about considering it This was switching to a Whole Foods plant-based diet For about the first six months of my exercise with CFS I was eating a mostly meat based diet, you know lean meats vegetables low carb, no processed food I thought it was really healthy I thought I was doing well and I was seeing some progress but when I switched to a predominantly Whole Foods plant-based diet my progress Skyrocketed, it was such a game-changer for me. I started recovering more quickly from my workouts. I started sleeping better. I was in less pain My digestion was better. I looked better It just it was incredible what it did for me If you’re looking for more information on all the great ways that a plant-based diet can help people heal There are some amazing documentaries out there. There’s one called the game changers. There’s one called what the health I Definitely recommend that you check them out So to recap part one we had things to change before you get started set your life up for success by increasing support minimizing obligations and responsibilities switching your mindset by focusing on what you can do surrendering to your limitations and remembering that vanity could not be your motivator and Then we learned that we must stretch focus on pain management get sleep at any cost and switch to a predominantly plant-based diet Okay part three. So now that we know how to change our life to get ready for exercise We’ve learnt the things to do to support our body during that process This part is about what to actually do when you’re doing the actual exercise So there were seven things that I found while doing my exercise program. That made it be successful, so the first thing was to learn that Working out on your own is absolutely the best in the beginning Working out trying to work out with personal trainers or in fitness classes or physical therapists Probably isn’t going to be for you. The portion of reality is is that most doctors aren’t even properly trained in CFS Treatment never mind fitness trainers and whatnot So the chances of any of them knowing what is right for your body is pretty slim in fact even another person with CFS isn’t gonna know what the right amount of exercise for you is the reality is is that in as little as one minute you can Do too much exercise? Just one minute. So with working out with someone else It’s just too easy to get distracted and push a little bit too hard and lay yourself out for the rest of the week and even if the person you’re working with Isn’t pushing you to work harder? The reality is is that most of us when we have someone physically in front of us Just tend to work harder. We either want to show them how hard we’re working or get our money’s worth or whatever it is so in the beginning It’s best to work out on your own If you’re not confident in your ability to exercise effectively and safely by yourself Then perhaps hire a personal trainer for one session just to design a program for you teach you how to do the exercises And then you go off on your own and you do those by yourself, right which leads me right into the second thing So just because you have to do this on your own doesn’t mean you have to figure it all out on your own So in the beginning even though you’re working out by yourself There are tons of great resources out there on the internet and in various mobile apps to help you get great workouts in In the beginning again, depending on where you are in your healing journey But your workouts might be quite small so you might not need much You could look up on the internet some exercises to do it might just be some you know Simple squats on your living room floor, maybe a couple push-ups off your knees if you can manage it It’s gonna be fairly simple Once your workouts start getting a little bit longer say 10 or 15 minutes Then it’s a good idea to start using some sort of mobile app or online program to help you along this way You don’t waste vital energy having to come up with a design effective workouts every week I started using a mobile app called sweat Which I find is excellent I started using it ages ago and I still use it really religiously to this day When I first started using it I had to cut the workouts in half or even in thirds and then even was shortening them I still had to modify the workouts So to make them easier if it called for jumping I would step instead if push-ups were off your toes I would do them off my knees. I would use little smallest way. It’s possible or even no weights at all But in time I got to the point where I could do workouts exactly as they were designed in the app Which was super exciting to see that progress as I went along another great thing about mobile apps like sweat Is that the fitness trainers that put their workout programs into the app? Typically have a strong social media presence So I found it really exciting and motivating to follow them online to see all the other people that are doing the program And watch their progress So it was a great way to feel Connected to a trainer and to a supportive community during a time when I actually wasn’t physically able to go into the world and do that in person and if you aren’t confident in your ability to modify these workouts in the Beginning then workouts designed for pregnant women can actually be quite good because they typically are low Intensity and don’t involve a lot of heavy lifting The third piece of doing your exercise Is that moving your body just once a day? Isn’t gonna be enough and I know you’re thinking but Raylan I have chronic fatigue syndrome I can barely even exercise once a day and now you’re saying I have to work out multiple times a day It’s not that you have to work out multiple times a day but if you only exercise once a day and then the other twenty three and Three-quarter hours are spent lying down. Then the healing process for your body is going to be really slow So think of your body as a body of water and considering we are mostly made up of water It’s really not that much of a stretch so bodies of water we think of ones that are moving they are typically healthy and alive and if you think of bodies of water, That are stagnant. There are usually breeding grounds for disease So our bodies not all that different things like our lymphatic system rely on us to be moving so that the fluid can be moving and our bodies can do all the wonderful things that It does to be healing unfortunate reality is is that when you are said entry you are Typically not healing. So do what you can This might mean in the beginning that just every time you get up to go to the bathroom as you’re walking to the bathroom You’re swinging your arms in the air in some gentle circles if you can manage it on the way back Maybe stop in the hallway do a couple gentle squats, whatever you can manage Safely, if you were completely laid out in bed or on the couch, then perhaps every once in a while You just lift your arms and legs up gently maybes gentle bending gentle stretching Set a timer on your phone to go off every thirty minutes or 60 minutes or whatever You can manage and every time that timer goes off. Make sure you’re moving as much as you safely Can the fourth piece of exercise with CFS is that you need to ditch the cardio? I know we all gravitate towards it when we first start working out. I think it just seems safe it’s there’s not much intimidating about walking or gently peddling on a Recumbent bike at the gym, but for me, I found that cardio never got me anywhere I never saw any progress from it and the only thing that ever seemed to do actually was make me feel worse So in the beginning ditch it entirely which leads right into the fifth thing which is to put your focus completely into straight strength training But start really really small in the beginning strength training likely won’t involve any weights at all It’s just gonna be your own bodyweight things like, you know A couple lunges or a couple squats or a couple push-ups off your knees and when you can start using the smallest weights possible I know that when I was doing it I felt really silly and even in my weakened SiC Condition those teeny tiny weights felt like they were actually still too late for me Just I could barely even feel that there was anything in my hand and I felt silly Like, how can I possibly be doing anything at all? but every time I tried to up the weight and go even just the Slightest bit heavier my health would crash and it would be a disaster So eventually I learned to keep it small and over time eventually. I started feeling a little bit better So then I started upping it ever so slightly to a little bit bigger way and a bigger weight until I got to a point where I can manage quite heavy weights with no problem at all number six number six is Start doing cardio. I’m not saying the cardio has no place in CFS recovery I’m just saying in the beginning. It’s not probably gonna get you anywhere so once you’re feeling really confident with your strength training you’re seeing Yourself do some impressive workouts at the gym. And you’re just feeling really quite strong now It’s time to start bringing that cardio in and you might think because you’ve gotten quite strong at the gym that the cardio is probably Going to be no problem to get started. But if your experience is like mine, that’s not gonna be the case It might feel like you’re starting all over again Cardio will be a whole other ball game for your body. So you need to start small I started with walking and running So in the beginning I did ten minutes of walking and then one minute of running ten minutes walking One minute of running slow running more like a slow jog and then every single week I shaved one minute off of the walking So I would do nine minutes walking one minute run nine minutes walking one minute run and then the week after eight minutes and seven Minutes and so on until I got to a point where now when I go for a run 80 to 90% of my run is actual running and number seven in putting together your exercise program is to have some flexibility with that plan now few things in life make me happier than Having a plan and sticking to it Exactly. So every single week I put together this workout plan for myself So excited so determined to do it and I had zero problems getting the motivation to carry through with it But week after week my body just couldn’t keep up With what I was scheduling for myself and it wasn’t even always that I was scheduling too much It’s just that recovery with CFS is not a linear process It’s quite inconsistent And you only have to push just a teeny tiny bit too hard and then you might end up having to take two or three Days off to just rest and recover before you’re ready to get back on So it’s important to have a plan but it’s also important to have flexibility with that plan All right so to recap change these two things before you get started set your life up for success by increasing support and minimizing obligations and responsibilities switch your mindset by focusing on what you can do surrendering to your Limitations and remember vanity cannot be your motivator at this stage of the game And then you need to learn to help your body recover by stretching working on pain management sleeping at any cost and switching to a predominantly plant-based diet and well actually Exercising you need to work out on your own initially move your body multiple times per day use the internet and mobile apps Stop doing cardio focus on strength training bring in the cardio later and be flexible with your plan and with yourself And just to remember no matter how small your workouts might feel. They are actually giant steps towards getting your health back It’s all exercise it all counts, and it’s all infinitely better than doing nothing And please be careful because doing too much can do incredible damage So consult your doctor do your own research and assess what is right for you before you get started? Alright, that’s it. Thank you So much for watching please hit the thumbs up button below if you enjoyed this video and Hit the subscribe button If you’d like to see more videos like this talking about chronic fatigue syndrome recovery And it’d be super helpful. If you could leave some comments below telling me what you liked about this video topics you’d like to hear more about and Please check below for some links for some resources if you’re still looking for more help I’ll be putting up videos like this every Wednesday, so I will see you next week Whoa You’re not gonna be singing you’re gonna be talking hello ever Scratch that all right redo forget the notes just speak wah wah Rubbish Once your workouts start getting a little bit longer quit touching your face, hmm You’ve got this you’ve got this kind of scary Mostly exciting or mostly scary. I’m not sure

3 thoughts on “Is EXERCISE possible with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome /M.E.?!

  1. Wonderful video, Raelan. And really interestingly so much of what we've spoken about over the last few weeks was completely echoed in my neurology appointment a few days ago. We can do this!!! Love the outtakes too ??

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