Is Fitness Your Fibromyalgia Fix?
Maintaining a level of physical fitness, even in the wake of a fibromyalgia diagnosis, is essential in maximizing your life with this painful condition. A healthy lifestyle is one of the easiest self-care techniques for managing fibromyalgia symptoms. Just running off to the gym and pumping some iron isn’t going to provide a quick fix for your troubles. While exercise for fibromyalgia patients is critical, it must be done correctly. Simple modifications of old workout routines and exercise habits can do the trick. Oregon University reported findings in a recent study that people suffering with fibromyalgia who exercised on a regular basis were able to reduce their pain levels and increase their overall endurance.
What Workout Works?
Fibromyalgia impacts nearly 3% of the general population. While the common perception might be that people dealing with fibromyalgia shouldn’t exercise, that is far from the truth. Many people limit their physical activity for fear of making their symptoms worse, but in reality, those with fibromyalgia can’t afford to not exercise. Properly performed exercise will help improve and maintain the muscular and cardiovascular breakdown that can occur, resulting in total loss of function. Weak, tight muscles, poor range of motion, and poor posture all put additional and unnecessary strain on your already fatigued and aching body.
Creating a workout program for fibromyalgia health needs to include aerobic exercise and strength-training. Aerobic exercise will work to improve overall body function, reduce symptoms and provide a general feeling of wellness. Strength training needs to stay at a comfortable level, as your goal isn’t to bulk up your muscles, but simply to increase strength and reduce muscle fatigue. A consistent and appropriate workout routine will help to alleviate not only your physical symptoms, but also emotional troubles that may accompany your fibromyalgia.
When creating a new workout routine, you might consider consulting your physician or seek the assistance of a physical therapist to ensure you are completing activities that will benefit your specific needs. Suggested aerobic activities include: walking, cycling, water aerobics, and swimming. Warm water is a wonderful medium for you to complete your exercises, as it reduces tension and keeps muscles loose. For best results, your workout needs to be completed at least three days a week for 25-30 minutes.
If the idea of diving into a full blown fitness routine doesn’t peak your interest, then at least consider raising the level of lifestyle physical activity. This encompasses the daily activities you might perform such as:
- Completing overhead motions – putting dishes away, drying or combing your hair, and cleaning windows
- Vacuuming, mopping, and making beds
- Gardening or landscape work
- Washing dishes or loading them into the dishwasher
- Walking up or down stairs instead of using an elevator.
Simply increasing your general level of physical activities, even in short bursts, has shown significant improvements for fibromyalgia patients. Some older patients have noted improvements just by completed several activities for 5 minutes at a time.
Making It Work
The key to exercise success for individuals with fibromyalgia is being consistent. When symptoms flare-ups, allow yourself some time to rest and take a day or two off. Once you feel better, return to your workout routine. With appropriate mobility exercises, strength training and aerobic activities you can expect to see improvement in your overall functionality and outlook on life.
Finding an activity that you love and will keep you motivated is critical in maintaining a workout routine. If you enjoy what you are doing, you are less likely to overlook that part of your day or find a reason to skip. It might even be helpful to have a workout buddy to keep you motivated and to avoid boredom. With fibromyalgia, many people feel isolated and depressed from the chronic pain, so this might be a good way to incorporate your physical needs with your social ones. While working out is essential for maximizing and improving your quality of life, it won’t always be easy. Do your best to keep a positive outlook and stay focused on reaching your goal or reduce symptoms and overall better health. The few physical hiccups you may experience on the way will be totally worth it as you reap the wonderful benefits that fitness will have in “fixing” your fibromyalgia woes.