anaerobic exercise

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PEM seems to focus on aerobic activity, and there is a lot of attention paid to heart rate monitoring, to keep it below a certain threshold and not initiate PEM.

However, what about brief periods of very modest muscle building exercise? Is there any research out there on this? Has anyone tried to build muscle in whatever limited way? Does it work?
 
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I used to be quite athletic and I didn't want to lose all the muscles I had, so I actually do some strength training. I used to be of moderate severity and now I'm mild and my trainings were of course lighter first, and more difficult now. My experience: it is a hit and miss. Depends on what day I do it. Sometimes I do some strength training and nothing happens, sometimes I do the exact same thing and I have PEM the next day with very painful DOMS that lasts for 4 days (which for me is not normal even if DOMS is not a typical ME symptom). I have to do it on a "good" day because if I do it on a more sluggish day, PEM and DOMS are guaranteed. At least that is my explanation for it. I'm a mild case now though, so it may be very different for others.
 
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@wyva have you been able to build or maintain muscle mass?
I can maintain but I have no idea if I could build. I have increased the difficulty a bit but not that much, so I really can't tell and I'm too afraid of PEM, so I don't want to overdo it. I can maintain though. (Not sure if it's important but on the other hand I can't gain weight (fat), and I'm much slimmer than before my ME/CFS, I'm definitely quite thin now. It seems no matter how much I eat, I burn every calorie and it wasn't like this before.)
 

Wishful

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PEM seems to focus on aerobic activity,
I disagree. I could do hours of strenuous activity without triggering PEM, as long as my muscles were accustomed to those movements. A minute or two of unaccustomed muscle use would trigger PEM. I think it's the damaging of muscle cells that triggers an immune response, which in turn triggers PEM. Aerobic activity is simply more likely to be enough to damage muscles than non-aerobic activity.

Unfortunately, if that's true, then muscle-building will trigger PEM, since it's damage to muscle cells that triggers rebuilding stronger muscles.
 
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I disagree. I could do hours of strenuous activity without triggering PEM, as long as my muscles were accustomed to those movements. A minute or two of unaccustomed muscle use would trigger PEM. I think it's the damaging of muscle cells that triggers an immune response, which in turn triggers PEM. Aerobic activity is simply more likely to be enough to damage muscles than non-aerobic activity.

Unfortunately, if that's true, then muscle-building will trigger PEM, since it's damage to muscle cells that triggers rebuilding stronger muscles.
This! It’s like priming the central nervous system or something.

before pandemic I was weight training, training jiu Jitsu, multiple times per week.

I could trigger PEM reliably by heavier weight and almost always working out my legs.

I could then get out of PEM by training jiu Jitsu, sweating, high heart rate, wrestling activity.

but I tried to lift weights again my PEM would get worse.

since the pandemic and gyms being closed- my activity levels have dropped, my muscle mass has changed and now when trying to build it back I’m triggering PEM much easier, so I’m confused.

I can’t tell if it’s PEM or Covid every time now lol.

In summary- heavier weights, large muscle groups reliably trigger PEM, but moderate weight not as much and specific type of cardio work got me OUT of PEM for a day or two.
 
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I wonder if the Workwell Foundation has research on this, since they have done research on aerobic/anaerobic systems in ME/CFS?

By 'modest', are you thinking like chores/daily activities around the house that require strength/lifting etc.? Or something more intensive, like a program of sets/reps of lifting?

In my personal experience, I haven't been able to do anything beyond household activities. Even vacuuming a few rooms really wears out my arms. This is in contrast to rock climbing 2-3 days a week prior to falling ill, when I felt pretty strong.

I would be curious to hear if you find something that works for you.
 

Wishful

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Has anyone tried to build muscle in whatever limited way?
One thing to experiment with is electric stimulation of muscles. It's possible that PEM is triggered by the cerebral exertion of making muscles move, so using electric pulses to contract the muscles would bypass that. I vaguely recall a thread about muscle stimulators, but I don't recall any reports about whether their use triggers PEM. To me this seems like a valuable experiment.
 
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aerobic definitely worse ... weightlifting can still cause you to crash though. general rules do apply but it seem to really depend on the illness state, which seem to vary between individuals over time. I had quite a lot of physical stamina in 2019 but I still had to be careful not to break into 'exercise', I could pedal my cousins bike around the street for example ( wouldn't have thought of doing that a couple years prior ) but I would feel ill immediately from doing it, and quickly stop.

I did a lot of stuff which was more arm muscles / upper body I guess like screwing things together, light sawing / filing, cutting things, lifting objects. Fishing ( depending on the weight of the rod it can take some physical effort especially if you gotta hold the rod in one hand while collecting the fish with the net in the other hand ).
I used an electric bike a lot, don't even have to pedal if its one you made yourself, its probably the best vehicle for me/cfs people who are reluctant to drive because of cognitive problems etc, Went offroad / cross country a lot... closest thing I am gonna get to exercise really. Maybe the adrenaline helps in some way. Picking the bike up to turn it around or lift over fences uses a lot of muscle strength ( but its not aerobic )or if you have to get off and push it through mud. I did use a mobility scooter for years but as I started going further and further distances it became too slow an inconvenient.

I lived in an environment with a lot of mould and bad air / stressful etc and that seemed changed the 'profile' of the disease, don't do half as much physical activity now. I started getting these intense sore throats, seem to crash easily and often my stomach starts to bloat up when I overdo it, so now kind of just waiting for some sort of medical intervention as I get the feeling that my disease isn't gonna improve much via pacing etc like it did before. Part of the problem I have is I seem to always want to push myself to do things that I would do when I was at a higher activity level.

I've lost so much muscle since it started in 2015, especially around the neck and shoulders. I've often wondered whether it even is possible to GAIN muscle with this condition. I guess it seems like a 'fools endeavour though' in a way... to do bodybuilding for the sake of it. You can definitely maximize the strength of the remaining muscle that you already have, by regular activity, but gaining a lot more bulk.... doubtful.
 

Wishful

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I'm not sure if it's relevant, but I've gotten PEM from receiving a muscle massage.
Interesting. Is massaging enough to damage tissue, and thus cause an immune response?

Found my own answer online: "Excessive pressure can probably cause rhabdomyolysis (“rhabdo”): poisoning by proteins liberated from injured muscle, known as a “muscle crush” injury. It would usually be mild with massage, but not necessarily." That certainly sounds like something that would trigger the immune system, and thus trigger PEM.
 

Andrew

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I just encountered problems with this. My legs became too weak for me to get up off the floor. I have to grab something and use my arms to help. So I checked by doing one squat and came up and found my weakness is near the bottom of the squat. So I started two squats a day, holding onto something to help. And even skipping some days.

I felt a lot of burn but no crash. Until today. I should have paid more attention to how I felt before I started. I did two squats as usual. And within a minute after I was done my legs got rubbery. And then my whole body went weak. It was a full body crash.

Is there anything I can eat or drink that will help me come back? I know I have to rest but is there anything else I can do?
 

gbells

Improved ME from 2 to 6
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PEM seems to focus on aerobic activity, and there is a lot of attention paid to heart rate monitoring, to keep it below a certain threshold and not initiate PEM.

However, what about brief periods of very modest muscle building exercise? Is there any research out there on this? Has anyone tried to build muscle in whatever limited way? Does it work?
I did a PT several times. It could increase muscle strength, but at a much lower capacity. I could do about two sets of exercises instead of my pre-me three sets. Recovery takes longer and gains are only about 30% as much. Cardio was also severely limited.