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#weareundefeatable - Physios for ME Response

We contacted Sport England in September 2019 about their campaign.


You may have seen the new #weareundefeatable campaign from Sport England designed to encourage people with long term conditions to be more active. Obviously this is a very important message for most people, but we are well aware that this does not apply to people with ME. We were concerned that this would create a new push to increase activity without knowledge of potential harm for people with ME, so we contacted Sport England directly with our concerns. A copy of our email is below:


Physios for ME email to Sport England:


We are a group of physiotherapists from across the UK with a special interest in ME (“Myalgic Encephalomyelitis”, otherwise known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome "CFS").


We have seen the #weareundefeatable campaign encouraging people with long term conditions to be more active. As physiotherapists we think this is a great initiative as there are significant health benefits from being physically active. However, for people with ME there is an emerging body of evidence showing indications of metabolic dysfunction with an associated abnormal response to physical activity, which can lead to a worsening of symptoms or even relapse.


The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention states: “Any activity or exercise plan for people with ME/CFS needs to be carefully designed with input from each patient. While vigorous aerobic exercise can be beneficial for many chronic illnesses, patients with ME/CFS do not tolerate such exercise routines. Standard exercise recommendations for healthy people can be harmful for patients with ME/CFS.


We are therefore concerned that the message in your campaign may be inappropriately applied to this patient group with the very real risk of resultant harm.


We would be happy to work with you to signpost health professionals and patients to information about ME so that they are able to make informed decision.


This post first published on social media on 3 September 2019

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