Exercising With Lyme Disease


Can I walk every day if I am able to besides doing the exercise that Dr. Burrascano suggested?

Answer from Dr. Neil Nathan:

Yes. I agree with Dr. Burrascano that exercise is important in the healing process. I suspect that he and I would agree that if you exercise to the point of feeling exhausted afterwards, and that if that exhaustion lasts a day or more, (what we refer to as post exertional malaise), that amount of exercise is not healthy for that individual. The key point here is that a patient with Lyme disease is using so much energy to fight their infection(s) that they must no overdo in exercise, or they risk compromising the healing process. Having said that, in addition to the specific program recommended by Dr. Burrascano, I am a proponent of any form of low impact exercise that is well tolerated. It’s all about balance, and moderation, and listening to your body about what you can and can’t do. As long as you don’t overdo, exercise can be quite beneficial.

Dr. Neil Nathan is a gifted physician who is passionate about healing. Since he loves to learn, he considers himself “always a student”, and gets fired up about learning new approaches that might work for his patients. Never satisfied to just learn superficially, when something grabs Neil’s attention, he will research and study with the person who really KNOWS how to do it, so he can maximize its clinical benefits. You can find Dr. Nathan at Gordon Medical Associates in both Santa Rosa and Fort Bragg.


Dr. Burrascano says to do no aerobic exercise, what about moderate walking. It is good for the spirit?

Answer from Dr. AzRa MaEl:

The point of this message is that aerobic exercise can temporarily deplete the immune system, which can make Lyme disease harder to treat. This lowered immunity is demonstrated by the well documented fact that marathon runners have increased susceptibility to viruses in the days following races. Some people with milder cases of Lyme do feel fine after aerobic exercise. Listen to your body and speak to your doctor. If you feel invigorated after aerobic exercise, then it may be fine for you.  If you feel more tired or stressed after aerobic exercise, then it probably is not serving you. There are many other kinds of gifts for the spirit. If aerobic exercise makes you sick, then it may be better to find a different kind of uplifting activity.

AzRa MaEl, MD was educated at Duke University School of Medicine and the University of California San Francisco Family Medicine Residency in Santa Rosa.  He now practices at Gordon Medical Associates in Santa Rosa. He specializes in innovative treatment strategies for persistent complex illnesses. In addition to using antibiotics and other allopathic treatments, nutritional support, lifestyle and emotional factors are considered a vital part of recovery for all patients.


Dr. Burrascano says to do no aerobic exercise, what about moderate walking. Is it good for the spirit?

Dr. Burrascano’s advice about avoiding aerobic exercise does not preclude long walks. He is warning against pushing yourself to get the endorphin rush that many athletic people love. Walking is fine as long as you are not exhausted when you finish, or do not feel more tired the next day. Limit activity to a level that doesn’t wear you out. Do not use your memory of what you used to do to guide you. Be aware of what feels good in your present condition. A stressed body will not heal from a chronic infection. If your walk is all you can do for that day, you did too much. Start slowly and incrementally. Increase by 1-3 minutes as you are able and you will regain your health. Push yourself, and you will stay stuck in the exertion and crash pattern. This inhibits immune function and adrenal recovery. Slow but regular physical exercise will increase muscle mass and help modulate your inflammatory response.

Dr Eric Gordon practices in Santa Rosa, California at Gordon Medical Associates. What Dr. Eric Gordon emphasizes is listening to his patients. “I believe my patients. Their description of what is going on in their body is the most accurate way we have to assess what is going on with them. I interpret the information they present, and blend it with laboratory results and imaging and other tests to determine a protocol that is customized to their condition.”