I seriously doubt this topic will bloom into a book; I’m not confident that my knowledge of fitness would stretch to fit a competent sentence. The thing about chronic fatigue is that lack of energy is frustrating, and more so if you remember having energy in a past season of life before some illness sucked it away, like a kid draining the last dribbles of a Blizzard through a straw. Then the kid holds up his tumbler and says, “All gone,” in hopes of scoring a chaser in another flavor. But the chronically fatigued grown-up holds up the aspirations he or she had reserved for the last third or so of an energetic life and sighs, “All gone.” And it’s not just aspirations, but abilities that are gone.
However, there are ways to maintain some level of health-sustaining activity for nearly everyone. You just need to find exercises that you can do that are fun. Some things never change: fun is key to motivation. I’m happy to share my miniscule repertoire of things I would find it fun to do anyway, even if they were not conducive to a fitter frame (and for all I know they’re not).
Activity: Fly Swatting
Benefits: Hand-eye coordination; wrist flexibility; bug-free home; sense of satisfaction of achieving an obsessive goal; sense of prowess exceeding that of a creature a billionth your size
Fun rating: Very high
Activity: Sock sliding
Benefits: Non-jarring locomotion; helps dust wood floors between cleanings; improves orientation with respect to furniture and other obstacles in one’s sock-sliding area; may possibly be easier on joints than conventional dignified walking
Limitations: Inefficient on carpet; care should be taken in jumping thresholds (recommended for advanced sock sliders only)
Fun rating: Exceedingly high
Activity: Hunting lost objects
Benefits: Occasional retrieval of lost objects; reminds hunter of presence of dust beneath dressers, beds, etc.; may improve flexibility if any is there in the first place
Limitations: Pain, frustration, careless head-bumping possible
Fun rating: Fair to abysmal
Activity: Cat (or similar object) hefting
Benefits: May increase/preserve upper body strength (I use a 16.25-pound cat); ability to have cat or similar object momentarily where you want it
Limitations: Cat or similar object may have competing motives conducive to a struggle in which it will inevitably prevail.
Fun rating: Neutral, depending on the cat or similar object.
These are just some of the activities I add to my routine to conserve my energy. I would advise extreme caution and uncommon sense before adopting any of them.
Coolidge, my coach