Health and fitness: Exercise can help fatigue sufferers

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By Kent Pegg

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a debilitating illness that affects more than 1 million Americans.

While anyone, regardless of sex or age, can be stricken with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), women are four times as likely as men to be affected. People in their 40s and 50s are more susceptible

CFS is defined as an illness that produces profound and disabling body weakness that lasts six months or more. Those suferring from CFS have four or more of the following symptoms: multijoint pain, aching or stiff muscles, tender glands, sore throat, impaired memory or concentration, new headaches, unrefreshing sleep and fatigue following exertion.

CFS symptoms can range from mild to severe and can dissipate over time or last a lifetime. There is no cure for CFS and treatment usually focuses on relieving the symptoms caused by CFS.

Light-to-moderate exercise is often considered one of the best methods for minimizing the effects of CFS. Individuals stricken with CFS have a lower threshold for exercise and have a longer recovery period after exercise.

Because of this, you should start slowly. Try doing just a few minutes of low impact exercise and stretches. As you adapt to the new program, add a little more exercise at a time.

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