Starting a new graded activity program

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making schedule

Graded activity means starting from a very low, baseline level of activity and gradually increasing it over the long term. So while pacing will look at your activity over one day, grading is about your activity over a longer period of time.

Over several days and weeks, you can increase your activity time gradually. For example, if after two or three days your pain doesn't get worse, increase the activity time slightly and try to keep the rest time the same. You can keep increasing this activity time every two or three days as long as your pain doesn't worsen.

If you are able to gradually build up the activity time, you can also start to cut down the rest time or take fewer rest periods. If your circumstances change (for example you get a cold) or your pain flares more than normal, you can adjust your activity and rest times, but you should try to maintain some level of activity. If your healthcare team instructs you to fully rest, however, follow their instructions carefully. Make sure to ask them when you can resume your activity.

Here's an example of how you can gradually increase your activity over a two-week period. Tip: The table is best viewed in landscape mode if you are accessing this page on a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device.

Week 120 mins runningRestRest20 mins runningRestRest20 mins running
Week 2RestRest22 mins runningRestRest22 mins runningRest


Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Diagnostic Criteria for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (2015) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. [Accessed April 29, 2016]​

Last updated: May 2nd 2016