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Most of us know that regular exercise provides many health benefits. For those people suffering from Fibromyalgia; however, exercise is rarely the first choice of treatment. If you suffer from the muscle pain, relentless fatigue, disturbed sleep, and the feelings of depression that come with a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, it seems counterintuitive that exercise will actually benefit you, let alone be possible.

Research has repeatedly shown that regular exercise is one of the most effective treatments for Fibromyalgia.

Research has repeatedly shown that regular exercise is one of the most effective treatments for Fibromyalgia, according the National Institute of Health. If you have Fibromyalgia, and you want to feel better and enjoy life, making simple exercise choices can boost your energy, decrease pain and stiffness, and help you start to be more active again.

Daily activities and household chores actually play a role in the treatment of Fibromyalgia. Playing with kids, mopping floors, washing windows, mowing the yard, and gardening will help reduce your symptoms.

To prevent injury and feel more comfortable, it’s vital to warm up before exercising. A warm-up can be a combination of a gentle walk and more active stretching once your body is warm. These warm-up movements shouldn’t cause pain, and if they do, decrease the movement of the joint.

Stretching after a warm-up improves circulation to the muscles and joints for everyone, including people with Fibromyalgia. Stretching also increases your range of motion so that moving around becomes easier over time. Daily stretching lubricates the joints and sends nutrients and oxygen to the muscles.

While there are few research studies on strength training and Fibromyalgia, the benefits far outweigh both the risks and the side effects. Side effects such as muscular or joint soreness and pain most often occur when we over exercise or use too much intensity. What’s most important with strength training is not the weight, but the range of movements through which you take your muscles. Take caution to avoid movements that cause pain or increase your discomfort later in the day. Some muscular soreness can be expected when beginning a strength-training program, but this should be mild. If you are uncertain of how to begin a training program with Fibromyalgia, contact your local healthcare professional or find a qualified personal trainer in your area with experience working with people who have the disease.

A few “outside the box” types of exercise for fibromyalgia:

Yoga for Stress Management

Among the four equally weighted pillars of Ornish Lifestyle Medicine, therapeutic stretching and meditation, along with regular activity, are powerful tools to help Fibromyalgia. The physical postures can help alleviate aches and pains, while meditating can help you to concentrate on the present instead of focusing on your pain – helping to overcome what’s know as a “Fibromyalgia fog.”

Qigong for Fibromyalgia Muscle Pain

Called the “Mother of Chinese healing,” Qigong combines meditation, dance, movement, and breathing exercises. Studies on the effects of Qigong on Fibromyalgia symptoms show that this traditional Chinese exercise helps improve energy, decreases fatigue, and alleviates pain.

Tai Chi and Fibromyalgia Flexibility

Tai Chi is another alternative exercise for Fibromyalgia that emphasizes relaxation. Some have even said Tai Chi is like “meditation in motion,” with dramatic, flowing movements instead of forceful actions. The goal of Tai Chi is to bring the principles of Yin and Yang into harmony.

As usual, if you have Fibromyalgia, please consult your physician before beginning an exercise program. Be sure to start slowly and if you find you need help, search for experienced healthcare professionals to coach you along your way to better health.

If you have Fibromyalgia or chronic pain, what steps are you taking to be active?

Contributed by

Phil Hardesty
Exercise Physiologist

Have a healthy, happy and fit week!!

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