Staying Fit With Fibromyalgia
Each day you face stiff, achy, and even painful muscles. Often times, it is hard to get out of bed, but the day won’t stop for your pain. So how can you be expected to stay physically fit, when everything you do makes you uncomfortable? When battling this painful condition, it is important to know that you aren’t left to lead a sedentary lifestyle. Staying active can be a medicine-free remedy for relieving some of your fibromyalgia symptoms, or at least decreasing their severity!
Why Is Exercise Important?
Exercise is the essential component for keeping muscles strong, flexible and maintaining a healthy weight. Participating in aerobic exercise allows you to be more active in other aspects of your life, as well. Patients that partake in physical activity at least three times a week have shown significant decreases in the amount of pain that they use to feel. You might think that if your muscles are already stiff and sore, exercise would only worsen those feelings, but the opposite actually is true. Exercise keeps the muscles fluid, strong, and helps to maintain or even increase overall range of motion.
Not only does physical fitness benefit your muscles and heart health, it triggers the release of endorphins creating a more positive mental and emotional state. Exercise provides a natural stress-reliever and the increase of endorphins will ward of feelings of anxiety and depression often associated with fibromyalgia. Another added benefit is the improvement of sleep. Fatigue is commonly associated with fibromyalgia patients and exercise allows the body to relax and fall into a deeper sleep cycle. It is much easier to face the day’s challenges without the added challenges of fatigue.
Strategies For Making It Work
When starting a new workout routine, you must ease into things slowly. Also, discuss your plans with your physician, to ensure that your body is healthy enough to start a new routine. They might also be able to recommend a specific workout for your needs. At first, you want to focus on three different types of exercises:
- Range of motion or stretching activities – this type of exercise involves moving the joint through the full range of motion without pain. Stretching helps maintain muscle flexibility and overall ease of movement.
- Endurance or conditioning exercises – this type of exercises works your cardiovascular system and strengthens muscles at the same time. Some examples of endurance or conditioning activities include walking, cycling, or swimming. These exercises will help to strengthen muscles, improve coordination and promote weight loss.
- Strengthening exercises-these exercises are designed to build stronger muscles and tendons in an effort to support joints. Be cautious when performing this type of exercise, as too much weight to poor posture could result in further injury.
If you are new to working out, speak with your physician about a prescribed workout routine under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist. This will ensure that you are getting the most benefit from your workout, without the added risk of injury.
Other low-impact activities can help reduce stress and alleviate feelings or depression and anxiety. Yoga is used to clear the mind of “mental clutter” and reduce both emotional and physical stress within the body. Yoga also works to strengthen your core, providing a more stable foundation for your body. Tai Chi and Pilates workouts are helpful in providing deep stretching to muscle groups, along with relaxation breathing and improving overall body balance and coordination.
Finally, for those experiencing severe pain or with previous injuries that have already limited your mobility, working out in a warm water program can ease stress to joints and still provide the necessary aerobic and cardiovascular workout needed to maintain health. Many local fitness centers offer programs such as water aerobics that may be utilized to ward off future episodes of painful fibromyalgia-induced symptoms.
Staying active isn’t an option for fibromyalgia sufferers, it is a critical component of your treatment plan. Without proper care and treatment, fibromyalgia symptoms will only intensify leading to a poorer quality of life for those involved. Once a workout routine has been started, make it a priority and your will begin to see wonderful improvements in how you feel.