• Welcome to Phoenix Rising!

    Created in 2008, Phoenix Rising is the largest and oldest forum dedicated to furthering the understanding of, and finding treatments for, complex chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), fibromyalgia, long COVID, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), and allied diseases.

    To become a member, simply click the Register button at the top right.

Lerner: Exercise and the Heart


Senior Member
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Exercise & the Heart

"When it comes to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME/CFS), exercise is a contentious subject. That's because of a symptom called post-exertional malaise; exertion makes symptoms worse."

"Dr. A. Martin Lerner, an infectious disease specialist who himself recovered from ME/CFS, says anything that raises the heart rate of someone with this condition is dangerous, unless they're well on their way to recovery (at a 7 on his EIPS chart.) He says this is because, in his practice, he's seen that ME/CFS does involve the heart.

Dr. Lerner says people with ME/CFS have a rapid heart rate when they're at rest, on top of low blood volume. As the disease progresses, he says, the heart muscle becomes weaker."

"For those in the early stages of recovery, Dr. Lerner says, "Certainly, it is helpful to not just let the muscles atrophy, but sitting up is actually a muscular activity." He adds, "Walk, live, but no exercise until you're at a 7, because if you exercise before that you're going to go backwards."

Hysterical Woman

Senior Member
East Coast

Hi Summer,

Thanks for posting the info from Dr. Lerner. I saw him twice (haven't gone back because I can't afford the meds). After my second visit and diagnosis, he made it quite clear that I shouldn't be doing any exercise. I asked if I could do some walking (I love the state park not too far from my house), and he said only if it was more of a stroll.

I was reminded of those remarks just a couple of weeks ago when I took a walk in the park on a beautiful autumn day. I probably pushed just a little too far and am still paying for that indiscretion.

For those CFS patients who are still able to do some hiking/exercise I am envious! :)

Take care,



I really like Tai Chi or Qigong. It is slow enough to be gentle, but does stretch and increase flexibility and circulation.