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Exercise and Fatigue: advice, please!

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  • Exercise and Fatigue: advice, please!

    Hi people! I need advice, please
    Like many of you, fatigue in the symptom that bosses me around the most. I really want to start exercising, and I have invested in a stationary bike per my PT's recommendation. My problem: after I exercise, I experience significant lassitude, often for a few days-to the point I cannot work. I had started out by doing HIIT training for 20 min for a few sessions (1-2 sessions a week), then went down to 15 min a few times, and the last few times I've been just doing a low-resistance easy ride for 20-30 min; it still triggers my fatigue monster.
    So, how do you all cope with this? Obviously it should eventually get better, as exercise is the gold-standard the treatment for fatigue. But how long does it take? Yeah, everyone is different, but was it a month, or a year? Or maybe I'm still doing too much and I need to cut back more and build up more slowly?
    I am willing to do whatever it takes to get on the exercise bandwagon, but if this is how it's going to be for a few months I'm thinking I should take a LOA from work (totally do-able).
    Thoughts? Suggestions?

  • #2
    Emily, that is a really good question!

    Sorry I can only give you my own experience which, as I recall was between 3 and 6 months before I was able to tolerate very heavy exercise at all, BUT, it was about 3 years before I could tolerate it well. Even today I generally only go out hard two days a week and I pick those days based on what I have to do the day after. Oh, and my friends would consider my idea of "hard" laughable.

    My advice is to start as low and slow as you have to to avoid too much fatigue and build up as you are able to tolerate more, which sounds pretty much like what your trying to do. As one who has gone out too hard, for too long, way too many times, I can tell you that slow and steady will win the race. Remember that for a person with MS, exercising is a lifetime commitment, and with that in mind, there's really no need to rush it.

    Good luck, and please keep checking in with us.


    BTW, where is the most isolated land mass in the world?
    Last edited by AMFADVENTURES; 04-25-2019, 07:02 PM.


    • #3
      Thanks for sharing your experience, Larry. I do feel a bit rushed about getting more physically fit, and your comments help me realize that I should go even slower. It probably doesn’t help that I have never been a cycler, so even in good shape I’d be struggling.

      Hawaii is the most isolated land mass in the world


      • #4
        Some thoughts....


        I am part of a global group of MSers and supporters that participate in-person or virtually in marathons - or a shorter event associated with a marathon such as a marathon relay.

        As we are entering warmer temperatures here in the northern hemisphere, I recently did a crowdsourcing exercise to collect ideas on to best manage heat sensitivity. This resulted in a PDF document listing those ideas - just tried to upload it to this forum, but is too large.

        If you want to Private Message here on ActiveMsers we can figure out how to get it to you.

        To summarize, there is no magic answer to this issue. Things to mitigate the effects is the most viable answer...for example running in short intervals and then walking e.g. 1 minute run, then 10 second walk.


        • #5
          Are you Progressive or Relapsing? I found that in the weeks following a relapse (3-6weeks) I was more prone to exercise induced fatigue that would last days and would have to keep it light - like just walking the dog, no gym type exercise.

          I found when I would first get back into exercise I would need a long nap after, no pushing through, or I paid for it worse the next day, full on "ms hangover" from exercise.

          The stamina comes back slowly.

          After a bad optic neuritis I was off work on short term disability for about 4 months, used it to get back into exercise slowly - in the beginning a 20min home yoga practice would leave me exahausted, would fall asleep on floor in relaxation pose and wake up with the dogs curled up with me. Kept at it, eventually could do a full 45min home yoga dvd practice with higher intensity and not need a nap. That's part of how I knew I would be ready to handle a return to work plan. Another bad relapse in fall 2016 I did another short term disability to give myself the "space" to recover, and same deal, when I could take the dog for long walks 2x a day without fatigue I knew I would have the staminda for a return to work plan again after about 6weeks. So if LOA is available worth considering for the time and space for the self care needed to get you back into a better work/life balance.

          DMT is helping keep the MS Stable, so that has helped me get fit again so I can stay active with equestrian, cycling, kayaking, swimming.

          I still overdo it sometimes though too, and need a rest/recovery day - so I make sure I don't have any big plans the day after I do a big day-trip for example.

          keep on keeping on!
          Callenge life before life challenges you - from inside collar of my "Bike Off More Than You Chew" bike jersey


          • #6
            I am relapsing/remitting


            I am relapsing/remitting. Yes, am more prone to exercise induced tiredness post relapse. I had a relapse over the new year, and still get tired more than I used to now. Each relapse takes something out of you - but at the same time motivates you to keep on doing what you know are the best things to do.


            • #7
              Emily, I've written up a major article on interval training with MS that will be posted shortly with lots of advice. Hope it helps. I'll try to post the link here too.
              Dave Bexfield


              • #8
                Slow and Steady

                Thank you Emily for starting this dialogue. Now I know that I am not lazy, crazy or alone in the battle between fatigue and exercise.

                I have expected to much out of myself to soon.
                Slow and steady is my new mantra!