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What is pacing?

Young female gardener watering the plant

Pacing is a self-management strategy that people with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) use to prevent or lessen the symptoms of post-exertional malaise (PEM).  Pacing involves reviewing each type of exertion throughout a day (or set of days), including physical, cognitive, social and emotional aspects, to determine how much activity can be done without increasing symptoms.  Pacing needs may fluctuate day to day; it is important for ME patients to understand their limitations.


Pacing is not the same as graded exercise therapy (GET). GET is not recommended for ME patients. GET is a treatment approach where physical activity is gradually increased over time, regardless of how the patient is feeling and ignoring any increased symptoms or new symptoms.

Learning to pace yourself is challenging, as ME symptoms are multiple and varied. Pacing is about doing what you can, within your energy limits.

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Pacing resources

Sign up for our "Living with ME/Long-COVID" email series to get simple pacing instructions and other helpful tools and information such as:

  • dispelling myths,

  • how to talk to your doctor,

  • learning to live with ME/Long-COVID,

  • mental, emotional and personal identity, and

  • symptom, medication and other tracking toolkits.

Introductions and Guides 

For additional tools and techniques to help manage your illness, sign up for our "Living with ME/Long-COVID" email series.  Topics include:

Module 1 - easy instructions for how to apply pacing

Module 2 - a practical activity and symptom tracking toolkit

Module 6 - biometrics you can measure and track to help with pacing, and the devices and apps that can help.

Pacing videos

Videos on pacing in ME/CFS:

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