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Is exercise always good for the body?

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Exercise equipmentFrom Scotland's Edinburgh Evening News:


Is exercise always good for the body?

Health Reporter
15 April 2011

It was heralded as the greatest ever study into a condition that has always defied medics.

After eight years and a cost of £5 million of taxpayers' money, a thorough body of data had become available for possible cures - or at least improvement tactics - for ME (Myalgic Encephalopathy).

It involved major scientists, universities from across the UK, including Edinburgh, and 600 patients - 100 of whom were based in the Capital.

The conclusion, although based on the significant weight of freshly gathered and painstakingly sourced evidence, seemed remarkably simple.

ME patients should increase their exercise through a scheme called Graded Exercise Therapy (GET) and go through Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), a procedure that would teach them to take a fresh mental approach to their lives and how their condition affects it.

According to researchers, who published their findings in the Lancet earlier this year, such techniques could help sufferers of ME, a condition that results in severe, often debilitating fatigue, as well as painful muscles and joints, poor memory and concentration, disordered sleep and gastric disturbances.

The magnitude of the research seems enough to influence health policy in Scotland. If implemented, it means patients would be placed on recovery schemes, with thousands benefiting from a new regime of exercise and a "positive mental attitude".

However, sufferers and ME charities are now raising major concerns about the findings, worried about what could happen to those not well or fit enough to embark on such a pro-active approach.

The fact the Department of Work and Pensions helped fund the work is also raising suspicion about what could happen to those unwilling to participate, or those who improve "too well". Could they be stripped of their benefits?

Those fears aside, no-one argues that something has to be done, either to find the cause or cure for ME, or at least ways in which its effects can be mitigated.

Half of ME sufferers are unemployed, and those who do manage to hold down a job have sickness absence rates ten times higher than other workers who have ongoing health problems.


The full article can be found here.



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