Fibromyalgia Exercises

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What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia disease is a condition that is characterized by fatigue and joint stiffness and muscle pain that occurs in multiple areas of the body. The disorder is chronic, or ongoing, but the pain is intermittent, and it moves to various sites. Fibromyalgia disease is often unrecognized or is misdiagnosed and is often accompanied by anxiety and mood disorders which further complicate the condition.

No one knows exactly what causes fibromyalgia disease. A variety of different factors working together is the most likely cause. These factors may include:

  • Genetics: Fibromyalgia has a genetic tendency, which means there may be certain mutations in genes that make some individuals more susceptible to the condition.
  • Infections: Fibromyalgia seems to be triggered, or its symptoms made worse by certain illnesses.
  • Emotional or physical trauma: Experiencing a traumatic physical injury or accident, or an emotionally traumatic experience is linked to the disease. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been found to be connected to fibromyalgia.
  • Sex: Fibromyalgia affects women more often than men.
  • Lifestyle: People who are inactive or who are in poor physical condition are more like to develop the disease.

If you have fibromyalgia, you can benefit from fibromyalgia exercises. Increasing your activity level even slightly can help improve your balance, maintain your bone mass, reduce your stress level and help increase your strength. Regular activity can also help control your appetite and manage your weight which is important for pain reduction. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a beginner, it’s best to start any new activity slowly and gradually increase your fibromyalgia exercises routine.

Benefits of Fibromyalgia Exercises

It has been proven numerous times that exercise provides a lot of health benefits, but for people who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, the benefits of exercise go a long way from just decreasing pain.

Here are some of the benefits that fibromyalgia exercises provide:

  • Fibromyalgia exercises increase serotonin levels. Serotonin is more commonly known as the “feel good” hormone. People with fibromyalgia have decreased a level of serotonin which causes the development of mood swings.
  • Exercises help drop cortisol levels. Pain can cause stress, anxiety, and other health problems. Fibromyalgia exercises can help with relaxation and manage one’s stress levels.
  • Fibromyalgia exercises help with sleeping problems. People with fibromyalgia usually have sleep disorders that can cause intense pain and weakness. Exercise is good for keeping active during the day and promote better sleep quality at night.
  • Fibromyalgia exercises help manage pain. Research has shown that exercise work like prescribed non-opiod analgesic for pain relief. Although exercise takes up more time, it has no side effects and it’s free.

Fibromyalgia Exercise Tips

The following tips can help you avoid pain or injury when you start your fibromyalgia exercise program:

  • Do your fibromyalgia exercises when you feel good. Many people who have fibromyalgia feel their best at mid-day, but everyone is unique. Choose a time to exercise that works for you.
  • Warm up before doing fibromyalgia exercises. Stretch your muscles or take a warm shower or bath before starting to do fibromyalgia exercises. This helps to minimize painful muscles after your routine. You can stretch while sitting, standing or while lying down.
  • Walk on an even, flat surface and take small steps. Avoid swinging your arms or taking a long stride. This will help prevent falls and excessive fatigue while doing fibromyalgia exercises.
  • If you’re considering strength training, take it slow. You might want to avoid weights and choose elastic bands instead of your fibromyalgia exercises. Start with only a few repetitions and gradually work up.
  • When strengthening and stretching, take short breaks often. Alternate sides of your body frequently.
  • Listen to your body and never “push through the pain” when you’re doing fibromyalgia exercises.
  • Cool down after fibromyalgia exercises. Take a relaxing shower or bath to pamper yourself.

Type of Exercise

To avoid trauma and injury to your joints, choose low-impact aerobic fibromyalgia exercises like swimming, water aerobics, bicycling or walking. These activities reduce axial loading on your musculoskeletal system.

Warming up before and cooling down after fibromyalgia exercises is essential to prevent injury. Do gentle stretches for 5 to 10 minutes before and after your routine.

Many times when people start a new fibromyalgia exercise program, they become stiff and sore due to microtrauma of the muscles. This is due to deconditioning and can be prevented by taking things slowly, in the beginning, adequate warming up and cooling down, and lots of patience with your fibromyalgia exercise program. Don’t rush yourself! Set realistic goals so you don’t get discouraged by a painful setback before you can realize the benefits to be gained by a schedule of regular fibromyalgia exercise.

Frequency of Exercise

A realistic goal for an individual with fibromyalgia is to exercise three or four times weekly on a regular basis. Doing fibromyalgia exercises less than three times weekly usually does little to benefit the body aerobically, and more frequently than four times weekly is likely to increase the chance of a minor injury.

Duration of Exercise

If you’re just starting fibromyalgia exercises, start slowly. You may only be able to tolerate five minutes or less of activity. Gradually build your endurance and set your goal for at least 20 minutes for each session.

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