When Graded Exercise Goes Wrong


Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
One patients account of a quickie try with graded exercise that leads to a relapse

In my first few weeks I was given CBT. It was a bizarre waste of time. Then I was given graded exercise therapy (GET) - again, under the NHS clinic’s trained specialists. I raised concerns because walking from the car to the clinic had been very hard in itself, but was assured that it was safe. Ultimately, I wanted to believe them because I wanted to be able to get well so simply and I missed exercise so bad anyway. So I did exactly as instructed, starting with just 5 minutes on an exercise bike on the lowest resistance setting. At the end of those five minutes I felt okay, I could have continued. But I stopped as instructed. The next day things were very bad. I couldn't believe that that small amount of exercise had done this to me. But it did and I never recovered from it.

I stopped the graded exercise at that point, it was physically impossible to continue anyway. I feel very angry about this having since read the papers myself, such as PACE and seen that the claims made are not backed up by evidence, and evidence of harms are buried. My NHS clinic subsequently discharged me following the failed GET, saying there was nothing more they could do for me.

I very much got the impression that I was a fact they wanted to bury. They wanted me off their books, off their list of responsibilities, so they could continue giving GET to others without having to acknowledge the harm they had caused me.

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