When I was first hit with FMS/CFS in 1996 I was extremely athletic - I had a very low % of body fat, was completely toned, and could run a marathon in a competitive time. I woke up one morning feeling like I had the flu and my body went downhill from there. For a very long time I tried to fight the fatigue and to push through it, but I never had any success with that. Over the next 12 years I gained 60+ pounds and got to the point where just walking through the grocery store made me exhausted. Today I'm happy to say that I've lost 50 lbs. and am at a healthy weight again. The weight loss has eliminated a lot of pain I had in my knees and feet. My body is a complete stranger to me, though: I'm slim but everything is flabby. My calves just droop. My forearms are saggy. My stomach is flat but I have no visible abdominal muscles. I feel like a Raggedy Anne doll. I've read so much about how exercise can be beneficial for FMS patients, and I truly miss my daily workouts, but I'm stumped about how to approach an exercise plan. For the last week I've taken our two dogs for separate walks in the evening, walking for about an hour total, but it's a leisurely walk (they're elderly, arthritic dogs). When I come home I'm slightly tired, but I don't feel like I truly "worked" my muscles. I did these long, leisurely walks for 6 days and didn't feel any negative cumulative effects -- I didn't really feel anything at all. Saturday night (day 7) one of the dogs seemed extra energetic so we went for a longer walk, and I tossed in a bit of jogging. I felt really good when I came home because it was exciting to run, even a tiny bit (I didn't even get winded so I didn't think I was pushing myself too hard). By Sunday morning, however, I felt like a freight train hit me -- I had to take extra pain meds to be able to take the dogs out Sunday night (I didn't want to disappoint them), and I was dragging through two very short walks. All I wanted to do was get home to sleep. I didn't get a "second wind" once I got out walking... I just dragged the entire time. The pain I'm feeling today doesn't seem related to walking/jogging or those specific muscles, it's just an all-over FMS ache. All my pre-FMS life I was active, and I always looked for the feeling of "good pain" to tell me that I'd working my muscles appropriately. Now that I have FMS, I don't know how to gauge the benefits of the exercise I'm getting. Do long, slow walks even count as "exercise" if they don't raise my heart rate and I don't feel any muscle fatigue or soreness? Is there any value to doing more strenuous exercise (like jogging), if it means I can barely move for the next couple of days? If walking/running is the main means of exercise available to me, how do I figure out how to get the full benefit of that mode of exercise? I'd love to be able to join a gym to consult a personal trainer, or go to physical therapy, but I can barely afford to eat -- walking is all I can muster right now. Any advice/anecdotes/suggestions about how to approach exercising are appreciated. The dogs think a daily walk is the most exciting part of their day, so while I'm underwhelmed so far, they're pretty happy!