The Fibromyalgia Sufferer’s Guide to Safe Exercise
When daily life is a struggle and you live in constant pain, it is incredibly difficult to strap on your athletic shoes and head out for a walk. It is much easier to give in to the pain and seek relief, and that typically involves staying as still as possible so that you don’t give your muscles an excuse to ache more. While many fibromyalgia sufferers give up many of the activities they once enjoyed, that doesn’t have to apply to your life.
Adding exercise to your daily routine will actually give your muscles an excuse to stretch, strengthen and ease up on the pain. As long as you don’t push your body beyond its comfort zone and pay attention to how your muscles feel, movement is exactly what you need to live more comfortably with fibromyalgia.
Safe Exercises for Fibromyalgia Sufferers
Most forms of low-impact exercise are safe for fibromyalgia sufferers. If you can control the intensity, speed and duration of the workout, there is a good chance that you can complete the workout comfortably. In some cases, you may need to modify movements so that they work better for your body.
What causes someone else pain may feel comfortable to you, so expect to go through a period of trial and error when you first start exercising. If your pain intensifies or you feel pain in new areas, instantly stop the exercise. Try to modify the movement, but move on to a different form of exercise if it still causes pain.
The best forms of exercise for fibromyalgia sufferers are those that combine the following elements:
- Light stretching
- Low-impact cardiovascular movement
- Gentle toning
A good example of a safe exercise for fibromyalgia sufferers is walking. You may progress to speed walking with time, but start by simply putting one foot in front of the other. Set a time for walking and make it a part of your daily routine. While fatigue and pain may make you feel stiff and awkward at first, your body will start to loosen up and gain strength.
Gentle yoga routines are also a good option. Avoid going too deep into the movements, and modify any movement that causes too much muscle strain. Focus on deep breathing and establishing a connection between your mind and body. The mental exercise can help you ease pain even when you are not exercising.
If exercising on the ground feels too difficult, try swimming. The water will ease the pressure on your muscles, but you can still get in a good workout that boosts your overall health.
It is important to gradually pick up speed and ease your body into every workout. When you have completed your walk or exercise routine, complete a short cool down so that your muscles are gradually soothed and your heart rate is lowered.
Exercises to Avoid
You can worsen your fibromyalgia pain if you complete high-impact exercise that places too much strain on your muscles and joints. This includes running and any form of exercise that involves jumping. Some sufferers are able to take their feet off the ground a little after months or years of consistent exercise, but you should start out with your feet firmly on the ground.
Some stretches may pull too much on your muscles and cause additional pain. Always go slowly into your stretches and back out of them if you feel pain. The golden rule is to listen to your body.