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  • Writer's pictureHoxton Pilates

Is Pilates Suitable for Chronic Fatigue?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, is characterised by extreme tiredness. Other symptoms can include headaches, irregular heartbeat and flu-like symptoms. For years exercise was recommended for the treatment and management of Chronic Fatigue. This publication from the Cochrane Institute outlines these findings.

Lately the advice seems to be changing and NICE guidelines suggest that exercise can make symptoms worse. However due to the fact that each individual's symptoms vary vastly it stands to reason that treatment and management of the condition will also vary from person to person.

What NICE does suggest is that one stays within their "energy limits". For many Chronic Fatigue sufferers this suggests that gentle exercise will be a reasonable option for symptom management. All exercise and deep breathing techniques stimulate the production of oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. These important brain chemicals increase vascularisation (and therefore circulation), reduce inflammation and have an antioxidant effect.

Therefore if a person can tolerate light exercise they should try to incorporate it into their routine. Studio based Pilates under the scrutiny of a trained instructor can be the ideal source of gentle exercise for those who need it.

The pace of the class, the strength of the resistance and the focus of movement can be carefully supervised and dialled up or down to any intensity. The Pilates studio also provides a friendly atmosphere where you are more than just one of the many dozens who pass through on a single day. Human contact and social interaction also stimulate positive brain activity: another significant benefit for those with Chronic Fatigue.

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