What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

by Stephanie Brail

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating illness that affects at least one million Americans. It is marked by severe fatigue that worsens significantly after strenuous exercise or other activities (this is called post-exertional malaise). Besides fatigue, CFS is accompanied by a number of other symptoms, including "brain fog" (memory and concentration problems), insomnia and sleep disorders, flu-like symptoms, and joint pain.

How to Build Up Your Tolerance to Post-Exercise Malaise

by Stephanie Brail

While this article is intended primarily for people with chronic fatigue syndrome, it might also be helpful to anyone who is struggling with severe fatigue after exercise or physical exertion.

What often separates a person who has symptoms of fatigue, versus someone who has full-blown chronic fatigue syndrome, is the phenomenon known as “post-exercise malaise.” Post-exercise malaise (also known as post-exertional malaise) is one of the key symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome that is used to diagnose the illness. It is characterized by severe fatigue and the worsening of other symptoms for the days following the exertion.

For most people with chronic fatigue syndrome, this translates into the following: When you try to exercise, you end up back in bed with your symptoms aggravated for a day, if not more. In some cases, too much exertion can cause a severe chronic fatigue flare-up or relapse.

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