HEALTH & FITNESS ARTICLES
Exercising with Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is characterized by aches, pains, stiffness, fatigue and sleeplessness. It can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms vary and little is known about what causes it. What researchers do know is that fibromyalgia sufferers have higher amounts of the neurotransmitters that signal pain responses and lower amounts of natural pain killers such as serotonin.
If you have fibromyalgia, exercise can seem impossible. Your body already hurts, why would you want to make it worse? But, ironically, exercise is one of the only things that can almost guarantee to bring sufferers relief. Increased strength and flexibility are helpful to make aching muscles feel better, and exercise also triggers the release of endorphins that help kill pain. Other benefits of exercise for those with fibromyalgia include:
* Better sleep
* Reduced stress and depression
* Improved your energy levels
* More endurance
* Weight control
* Improved ability to tolerate pain
* Reduced stiffness
If you have fibromyalgia, you need to start exercise very slowly. Since even walking can feel like a chore, you may only be able to exercise for minutes at a time. That's OK! By being consistent with your frequency of exercise, you will be able to slowly increase how long you can exercise. Besides walking, the following are good choices for those with fibromyalgia:
* Swimming - This is a great way to condition your heart and body without the impact on your joints.
* Yoga - Increase your flexibility and de-stress by learning how to relax and breathe. Beginner classes tend to be most appropriate.
* Tai Chi - This 'moving meditation' helps you get back in touch with your body and stay active without impact or jarring movements.
* Strength Training – Again, start SLOW and light. Try Pushups--Do them against a wall instead of on the floor. Lift light weights or even soup cans for resistance. Try resistance bands, or machines at the gym with the pin entirely removed from the weight stack to start out. When in doubt, even going through a range of motion with no weight is better than nothing. Give 1-2 days of rest in between weight training sessions. Gentle cardio can be done daily.
The hardest part of exercising with fibromyalgia can be the frustration you feel that your body is betraying you. Try channeling that frustration into a commitment to your workouts, reminding yourself that every time you move around you are improving. Taking control of
your health can provide tremendous relief, not only physically but emotionally.
Before you do anything check with your doctor and get a referral to a physical therapist so you know exactly what to do.
This article was provided by Home Exercise Coach
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