Guest Post by Dr Melissa Congdon on getting exercise with fatigue

Many new fibromyalgia patients tell me; “My doctor told me to exercise, but every time I go to the gym or work out at home I either wind up so exhausted I can’t move for days, or in so much pain I NEVER want to think about exercise again!”

It’s true that consistent aerobic exercise is a critically necessary part of your recovery from fibromyalgia. Consistent aerobic exercise increases energy, decreases pain (often as well or better than pain medications), improves sleep and mood, and can even improve cognitive function. In fact, most of us fibromyalgia specialists know that if our patients do not exercise they will not feel better, no matter what other therapies they are on.

Many doctors recommend fibromyalgia patients follow a “graduated exercise program” where they follow a prescribed exercise regimen and increase the amount they exercise every week even if they are exhausted and sore. Instead I have found  by adapting the concept of the “energy envelope” coined by Leonard Jason PhD et al (see link below) to my fibromyalgia patients I can often get them exercising and feeling better. Dr. Peter Rowe recommends this approach for pediatric chronic fatigue patients, but I have found it works well for kids and adults with fibromyalgia.

Here’s how to do it:

you always need to stay within the boundaries of your energy level–your “envelope.”  If you are very symptomatic then your energy envelop is quite thin. You need to figure out how much exercise you CAN do without bursting through the envelope and crashing. So you walk for 5 minutes every other day for the first week. By consistently doing the exercise that does not stress your body, you stay within the envelope and actually expand it so over time you can walk for 6 minutes then 7 minutes, then 8 minutes in a session–the goal being to get at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise at least 4 times a week. Your energy envelope has then expanded so that has lots of room inside! You slowly and gently get in shape by adding about a minute of time to your routine every week.

You can read the article here:

Do you want to get all the benefits of exercise? Start by doing what you can do on a regular basis (4 times a week) and then slowly add a bit more time every week. Swim, walk, bike–your choice. Give yourself the benefits of exercise PLUS enjoy active time with family and friends. See you on the trail!

Best, Melissa Congdon, MD, FAAP
Fibromyalgia Medicine for Children & Adults

500 Tamal Plaza, Suite 507
Corte Madera, CA 94925
PH: (415) 927-0600
FAX: (415) 381-8892

Dr Melissa Congdon is a GEM! You will absolutely love her! Make sure to go on over to her website and subscribe so you don’t miss anything she shares. Her way of explaining stuff to us un-medically-trained folks, is such a help. On her website she has tons of testimonials of folks with fibromyalgia that have been greatly helped by the Guaifenesin protocol too, so definitely check it out! 🙂 ~Christine

Click this link for more: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) of the Guaifenesin Protocol by me!

About Christine

I'm a bit of a health nut and not ashamed of it! God, family and Missions are huge passions and driving forces in my life. I have had fibromyalgia for most of my life and am in the process of a treatment that is gonna give me my life back! Join me in my journey to wellness, make some new friends and maybe encourage someone else along the way!
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2 Responses to Guest Post by Dr Melissa Congdon on getting exercise with fatigue

  1. carmen says:

    I do not have fibromyalgia, but I do have health issues including a stroke and now hypoglycemia. I’ve tried to exercise, but it just exhausts me. I am going to try the envelope method you talked about. Thanks for your recipes and discussions on hypoglycemia It will help me a lot.

    • Christine says:

      Hi Carmen! So glad to hear this post has been a help to you! sure makes a whole lot of sense to me too 🙂

      I have a few pinterest boards with tons of other recipes too, that I edit to make HG, the changes are in the description. Here’s the link just in case you want more options for the diet!

      Hope you feel better soon!

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