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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » why no aerobic exercise during treatment?

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Author Topic: why no aerobic exercise during treatment?
LymeNet Contributor
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I have read in the guidelines to avoid aerobics, even light such as walking program during treatment.

Can someone provide insight as to why this is the guideline?

"A simple walking program will not aerobics can be damaging and must be avoided."

What makes them damaging?

I know I shouldn't be so hung up on weight while treating, but I can't take the weight gain any more.

It is really affecting my depression. But the only time I have ever lost weight was while walking or running.

Of course there is no way I can run right now. That ship has sailed, but I was trying to work up to walking regularly again.

So far 20 minutes is about it.

Thanks for "listening".

Posts: 104 | From No. VA | Registered: Aug 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I play basketball now (full court 5 on 5)

I played 2 games the other day... spent about an hour or 2 at the gym.

I'm glad I did... but I can definitely tell that it overworks my adrenal glands.

It can also suppress the immune system when overdone.

And a few people have noted that our hearts aren't ready for that kind of aerobic exercise.

IMO just figure out what you can do and don't push it to the limit. Go conservative and if you think you can run a mile.... just run 3/4 of a mile.

If you think you can go cycling for 10 miles... just do 7 miles.

Posts: 5394 | From Houston, Tx | Registered: Aug 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
painted turtle
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There is a huge spectrum people experience with LD and its co-infection + variables.

Some people have arthritis symptoms and that's it. (give or take)

It goes from this to extreme cases of people going into coma, having seizures, paralysis etc. and the various stages it takes to come back from such kinds (and other kinds of LD trauma). During some stages, exercise is not recommended but at some point, it will (hopefully) become or be, necessary.

I never look at LD as an "us" thing, or a "we" thing. It is an "I" thing and a "you" thing.

Exercise like this is not advised for those who are in extremely ill shape but really, you need to know yourself and determine for yourself what you can and can't do.

It is best to do what you can with exercise since it is great medicine, even if the exercise is yoga or tai chi.

It is also best to not do the exercise if you simply know you ought not to.


Posts: 855 | From United States of Mind | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Tai Chi, indeed, can be surprising effective. Pilates or Restorative Yoga, too. There is much room for individual variation but be sure to get excellent instruction so you have the elements of the form precise. Then you can adjust to your needs.

Also never underestimate the movement of just living. Just move. Do what you enjoy in safe amounts of time. Walk. Here's what you need to know to proceed safely:


Advanced Topics in Lyme Disease (Diagnostic Hints and Treatment Guidelines for Lyme and Other Tick Borne Illnesses

Dr. Burrascano's Treatment Guidelines (2008) - 37 pages

As important as any supplements, sections regarding self-care:


and also pages 31-32 for advice on a safe, NON-AEROBIC EXERCISE plan and physical rehabilitation.

This is included in Burrascano's Guidelines, but you may want to be able to refer to it separately, too:

** Nutritional Supplements in Disseminated Lyme Disease **

J.J. Burrascano, Jr., MD (2008) - Four pages


An essential consideration is that in the presence of infection, aerobics can be damaging to the heart:

[Post-polio expert] Dr. [Richard] Bruno points out that physical over-activity is the biggest cause of post-polio symptoms. [3] (See Dr. Bruno's "Fainting and Fatigue" in the Spring 1996 CFIDS Chronicle, page 37.)


. . . when mice infected with Coxsackie B3 were forced to swim in a warm pool, the virulence of the virus was drastically augmented.

In fact, viral replication was augmented 530 times. This did horrendous things to the animals' hearts.

We all know that to play squash with the flu can lead to heart attacks. Much the same danger can be courted by undertaking hard exercise with M.E. [what CFS is called in the UK.] . . . .

. . . In 1988, Reyes and his colleagues exercised mice suffering from Coxsackie B3 myocarditis -- inflammation of the heart muscle caused by the virus.

They showed that the effect of exercise on the production of the neurohormones which regulate immune response and inflammation led to an increase in susceptibility to Coxsackie virus infections -- the host response was altered in favor of the virus. . . . .

. . . Cont'd at link above.


As well, the adrenal dysfunction that often plagues lyme patients must be considered on an individual case. If a patient has severe adrenal exhaustion, aerobics can be damaging from that perspective:

See page 4 where Dr. Burrascano describes a bit about the considerations of the dysfunction with the HYPOTHALAMIC-PITUITARY- ADRENAL AXIS

There are other authors of adrenal dysfunction books that go into greater explanation of the extreme care required as someone with adrenal damage undertakes exercise and conditioning program.

Rehabilitation is outlined on P. 30 - 31


Mitochondrial dysfunction can be a huge factor in lyme. Lyme damages mitochondra. So, as the mitochondria are the tiny energy centers of our cells, this presents a huge factor for energy output.

There are some things to help the mitochondria. Magnesium in one of those. D-Ribose is another. Hawthorn, too, as it helps the heart.

This thread also has some great information about what might be happening to the heart function of some patients who struggle with fatigue (and what can help).

There is a 3 hour video - you can watch free on your computer and many articles at this thread:

Topic: To everyone with cardiac symptoms please read!


For keys on adrenal and cardiac support:

This book, by an ILADS member LLMD, holds great information about treatments options and support measures: (through Amazon)


- by Kenneth B. Singleton , MD; James A. Duke. Ph.D. (Foreword)

You can read more about it here and see customer reviews.

Web site:


Underactive Adrenal Gland - Stresses and Problems with the Body's 'Gear Box' - by Dr. Sarah Myhill, MD


Many libraries carry this book and you can read 95 customer reviews here (average 4.5 star out of 5) AND see inside the book:

Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome

~ James L. Wilson, ND, DC, PhD, Johnathan V. Wright, MD

About $10. And qualifies for free shipping with a total $25. Purchase at Amazon

Posts: 48021 | From Tree House | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Don't focus on loosing weight. Focus on enjoying lots of healthful foods with great garden herbs and intense spices for flavor. Lots of colorful vegetables, some dark berries, etc.

For many lyme patients weight has everything to do with infection. When the infection(s) get adequate treatment and the body has teh support it needs, weight normalizes.

As long as we eat the very best foods, and enough (yes, enough, as many don't eat enough of the right foods at the right times) . . . well, if we eat correctly, move as best we can in a safe manner , then we just have to love our bodies for sticking with us.

Right now, treating infection is the key. So is getting out any heavy metals as that can prevent nutrients from getting to nerve tissue, and further affect endocrine/stress processes.

Nutrition and adrenal support are vital elements of support.


This book is specific to lyme and other chronic stealth infections. The author discusses the endocrine connection and effects of STRESS on a person with such infections.

You can read customer reviews and look inside the book at this link to its page at Amazon.

The Potbelly Syndrome: How Common Germs Cause Obesity, Diabetes, And Heart Disease (Paperback) - 2005

by Russell Farris and Per Marin, MD, PhD

Remember that lyme really messes up the HPA axis (Hypothalamus/pituitary/adrenal network). The pituitary has much to do with weight/growth. Mess up any part of the endocrine system and other parts suffer, too.


PubMed Search:

infection, obesity - 2433 abstracts

viruses, obesity - 388 abstracts

viral, obesity - 464 abstracts

bacteria, obesity - 889 abstracts

One of those:

J Dent Res. 2009 Jun;88(6):519-23.

Is obesity an oral bacterial disease?


. . . It seems likely that these bacterial species could serve as biological indicators of a developing overweight condition.

Of even greater interest, and the subject of future research, is the possibility that oral bacteria may participate in the pathology that leads to obesity. . . .


I always like to end on a proactive or positive note but I forgot about the weight comment. So, after the depressing (but ever so important) news that infection can cause weight gain, go back up to the supportive links for what can be done to help and that should give hope.

Also check out the mercury thread by GiGi:

Topic: How are our Nerve Cells Damaged by Mercury?


Topic: How Mercury Disrupts the Body



Details about what can help in the heavy metal department:

A Treatment Guide: Lyme and other Chronic Infections

by Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, PhD

October 2009 - 87 pages


This explains that treating lyme is not just about the infection but also the heavy metals:

Online Radio Interview with Dr. Klinghardt

Posts: 48021 | From Tree House | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LymeNet Contributor
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Thank you so much.
Posts: 104 | From No. VA | Registered: Aug 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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