Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is a long-term condition which causes extreme physical and mental fatigue. Other common symptoms include sleep disturbances, muscle pain, memory loss, gastrointestinal issues, and cognitive difficulties (brain fog). Symptoms are often worsened by minor physical or mental exertion, which is coined post-exertional malaise.

Physical Activity & CFS/ME

CFS/ME currently has no cure but can be effectively managed to control symptoms and enhance quality of life. An essential element of CFS/ME management is optimising physical activity levels, and it is now recommended that individuals should judge their own “energy limit” and partake in as much or as little activity as they feel is best for their symptoms.

In the context of CFS/ME, understanding how physical activity impacts on your energy balance, and how to maintain a level of movement within your energy availability, is an important component of self-management. Crucial to this understanding is that physical activity is more than just exercise and sport, and that every move you make matters.  

The Benefits of Physical Activity for CFS/ME

There are numerous benefits to optimising physical activity, including:

  • Maintaining physical function
  • Reducing physical and cognitive fatigue
  • Improved control of energy levels
  • Improved ability to carry out daily tasks
  • Improved quality of life

However, individuals with CFS/ME often fear and avoid physical activity due to fears it will alleviate their fatigue and so are physically inactive, or display a ‘boom and bust’ pattern of activity where they do too much physical activity and then are later unable to do anything due to severe fatigue. Both these patterns lead to deterioration of exercise tolerance and worsening of symptoms, and over time, worsening of the condition. For this reason, encouraging pacing, where you balance activities and rest to avoid deterioration of symptoms, is essential to self-manage your health. 

How do we Help?

Taking a personalised approach to everyday physical activity is a core value to us at KiActiv® Health. We support individuals to self-manage their physical activity to benefit their health in a way that suits them, including techniques like pacing. This is fundamental to individuals living with CFS/ME, where everyone’s symptoms are different, and therefore providing them with the knowledge, understanding and confidence to take their health into their own hands provides them with a management tool to benefit their health and quality of life, that can be sustained long-term. 

Effective pacing is different for everyone, and at KiActiv® we empower you to optimise your physical activity in the context of your fatigue, lifestyle and preferences. As the COVID-19 pandemic has progressed, we have successfully supported people with long COVID to manage their persistent symptoms such as fatigue and cognitive dysfunction, and recover at a pace that’s right for them. As such, we are well positioned to deliver substantial impact for CFS / ME pathways, to help individuals better self-manage fatigue and live well for longer.

Client Quotes

“It really helps. It just gives me an answer. It makes me a bit more educated about what’s going on with me.” 24, Female, CFS/ME

“I’ve found it really, really useful. It’s been good to have a tool that I can reflect on without me having to enter the information. I’ve done lots of questionnaires and they are all subjective, this isn’t. It’s a consistent, objective measure of what I’ve been doing.” 57, Female, CFS/ME

“It’s helped me plan my activity and learn from when I’m doing too much and I need to cut back.” 34, Female, CFS/ME

“I think when I’m not able to walk, I do actually get more tired. There’s a certain amount of energy I need to expend to not feel tired.”  – 23, Female, CFS/ME

“More motivated, better understanding of activity and that everything counts, also feel I am not as hard on myself as I know now that lots of other activities I do at home such as house work can all help me keep fit.”  – 33, Female, CFS/ME

“I think it’s really helpful to see what activities I am doing. It’s just nice to see it. To show that even things that aren’t exercise are activity.”  23, Female, CFS/ME