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Anyone know a good exercise DVD?

Posted by RobbieD

My goal is to exercise (my Dr. told me it would help my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)

I don't have a lot of room to exercise and it can't be too strenous. However, I would like to use light weights.

Answers (7)
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Hi Robbie: I'm in the same situation.

I need a structured enviroment and so do you. You need to go somewhere and get physical therapy where they can set you a "program" where they can help you without causing more damage.

It's best to go to a professional and let them teach you the basics; you can take it from there. 


Health Maven

Robbie -

Be very, very cautious!!  Your doctor is wrong and clearly doesn't understand CFS.  The primary identifying characteristic of CFS is an intolerance to exercise, something the CDC euphemistically calls "post-exertional malaise" (which is much worse than it sounds).  When you have CFS, any kind of exercise or exertion can cause a sudden, severe flare-up or "crash".  Anywhere from 1 hour to 24 hours after you exercise, you suddenly feel as if you have the flu.

For this reason, people with CFS must be extremely cautious about exercise.  being completely sedentary isn't good, either, but you need to figure out what your limits are and carefully stay within them to avoid crashes.

You should especially avoid aerobic exercise, where your heart rate increases, because people with CFS have dysfunctional metabolism and cells that don't handle aerobic exercise well, causing something called oxidative stress when you over-exert (which is what causes the flu-like feelings).

The best thing for most people with CFS is a very gentle program of slow, relaxed yoga or other stretching, combined with slow, short walks.  It may take awhile to figure out how much you can handle without crashing.  For me, I can walk slowly for about 20-30 minutes on a good day and can't handle any exercise at all on a bad day.  On a good day (though not in the same day!), I can also handle about 30 minutes of gentle yoga, but a full 60-minute class is too much for me (I use a video at home).  For some people, physical therapy is a good approach - but only if you can find a physical therapist who understands the exercise intolerance of CFS.

Here is a good explanation of CFS, including the exercise intolerance, from the CFIDS Association of America:

Here's an excellent article about exercise in CFS which summarizes some of the research on this topic:

Whatever you decide to do, take it very slowly and gradually.  I hope this helps.  Please feel free to contact me again if you have additional questions or concerns.


Sue Jackson 

Robbie -

One other mentioned wanting to use light weights, and I didn't address that in my first response.

Light weight work is actually something you might be able to tolerate better than other exercise because lifting weights is anaerobic, not aerobic exercise, so it is less likely to trigger oxidative stress and a crash.  However, the same cautions apply:  you need to go slowly and gradually and only do a few exercises at a time.

What I do - when I'm feeling up to it - is to do 1 or 2 weight training exercises at a time with light weights, scattered throughout the day, to avoid doing too much at once or raising my heart rate too much.  So, I might do 2 sets of abs exercises at mid-morning, then a couple of sets of upper body exercises with light weights in the afternoon, then the next day, try a couple of small sets of lunges or other lower-body exercises.  Again, you'll need to find where your own individual limits are.

I've found that most exercise videos are far too intense for someone with CFS.  And, unless your CFS is very mild, Curves would probably be too much, too. 

I often clip weight training exercises from women's magazines to keep for reference.  I don't follow the exact routines they show all at once but do one or two exercises at a time at a slow pace.  Natural Health often features yoga exercises and other gentler exercises (and yoga can help to build muscle, just as weight training does) - but even then, I usually need to tailor the routines to my own pace. I use yoga DVDs where you can piece together various exercises into your own routine rather than following a full 60-minute work-out.

Now, I hope I've answered your question more completely. It's very difficult to find the right balance between staying fit and not causing crashes, but it can be done with patience and time.

 All the best - 

Sue Jackson 

Hi, has a Easy sitting light weights exercise dvd. you can use 2 or 3 lb dumbbells.

Thanks Sue.

I am slowly doing a little and I find that I do feel better if I get up off my butt. I have found that moving and getting just a little exercise is definately advantages for me. Of course, on good days, it is sometimes hard not to do too much.

I can see what you mean about the exercise videos. I have been doing some lunges and weights on my own slowly.

Thanks again


Dear Robbie -


Thanks for the update.  I'm glad to hear you've been able to exercise a little - sounds like you're doing better than I am right now!  It's good to hear you're finding the right balance for yourself.


All the best -



As with many chronic conditions, those with CFS are at different levels.  Finding out what you can handle is key.  I personally enjoy Ellen Barrett's exercise DVDs.  Her calm voice and smooth, easy transitions make it easy to follow.  She does everything from yoga to cardio.  If I'm not up to a full workout, I'll do the warm-up, a few minutes of the workout, and then skip to cool-down.  It works great!
NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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