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Physical activity before and after exercise in women with chronic fatigue syndrome.

S A Sisto, W N Tapp, J J LaManca, W Ling, L R Korn, A J Nelson, B H Natelson
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/qjmed/91.7.465 465-473 First published online: 1 July 1998


We measured physical activity after strenuous exercise in 20 women with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), compared to 20 sedentary healthy volunteers who exercised no more than once per week. Activity was measured for 2 weeks using a portable waist-worn vertical accelerometer. After the first week of activity monitoring, all participants returned for a maximal treadmill test, followed by continued activity monitoring for the second week. Five activity measures were derived from the data: (i) average activity; (ii) total activity; (iii) duration of waking day; (iv) duration; and (v) number of daily rests. A repeated measures ANCOVA was used to determine post-treadmill group differences accounting for pre-treadmill differences. There was a significant reduction in overall average activity after the treadmill test, with the greatest decrease on days 12 through 14. This reduction was accompanied by a significant increase in the duration of the waking day and number of daily rests. Thus, marked exertion does produce changes in activity, but later than self-report would suggest, and are apparently not so severe that CFS patients cannot compensate.