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Fibromyalgia And Exercise

Fibromyalgia And Exercise
By Jane Thompson

The most effective treatment for fibromyalgia is exercise.
Which seems totally weird, because most people with fibromyalgia
hurt worse and are more fatigued after exercise, and they may
feel that way for days. The key is the right amount of the right
kinds of exercise.

If you are new to exercising within the constraints of
fibromyalgia, it may be helpful to enlist the help of a trainer,
physical therapist or exercise physiologist to design a program
specifically for you. Every person with fibromyalgia has a
different exercise capacity, so you need an individualized

Another important concept related to exercise is your
“baseline.” Each person has a different baseline. It is the
level of exercise that you can maintain over time. It does not
mean that you are pain-free, but that the pain doesn’t interfere
with your lifestyle. You also need to remember that you’ll
always have good days and bad days. You don’t stop or reduce
your exercise because of a bad day. (Although you may reduce it
for a while if you have a bad flare-up that lasts days or

Exercise training for someone with fibromyalgia begins with
stretching. Stretching reduces the stiffness and keeps ligaments
and tendons from shortening over time. Stretching should be
gentle and it should feel good. It is usually a good idea to
warm your muscles with mild aerobic activity, such as walking,
for a few minutes before stretching.

Daily low-impact, gentle aerobic exercise is the next step.
Aerobic exercise has tons of health benefits. It specifically
helps reduce fibromyalgia symptoms because it improves
flexibility, causes your body to release endorphins and other
happy chemicals and reduces stress. Walking and bicycling are
excellent low-impact exercises. It is important to start at a
level suitable to where you are and increase your level of
exercise slowly. If you get fatigued after five minutes of
walking, start there and increase your time by a minute or two
every week or two.

Some activities are especially good for fibromyalgia. Water
aerobics and swimming are wonderful. The buoyancy of the water
supports your sore muscles and allows you to exercise with less
pain. Swimming has a double benefit of gentle stretching along
with aerobic exercise.

Tai Chi and Qi Gong and Yoga emphasize slow, gentle movements
that are ideal for people with fibromyalgia. All three exercises
include breathing and focusing, which decrease stress. You also
learn to be aware of your body and learn to recognize signs of

Pilates is another exercise system where you work with your
body, stretching and toning it. Pilates is a non-weight bearing
exercise, like chair aerobics. It is a gentle way to tone your
body, and gentle is the word for exercising with fibromyalgia.

People with fibromyalgia can add some strength training slowly
as they build up exercise tolerance. Resistance bands provide
plenty of strength training for a while. Strength training must
be undertaken carefully and gently, and it might be wise to get
help from an exercise professional before adding it. There are
many benefits to strength training, and it could be a very
beneficial addition to your exercise, especially when you are
feeling well.

Whether we are talking about exercise or sleep, pacing and
routine are important if you have fibromyalgia. Going to bed and
getting up at the same time every day helps with sleep.
Exercising at the same time every day helps with exercise. Your
body begins to respond to routine.

Exercise must be paced, too. That means starting at a low
level, increasing gradually, and incorporating rest into your
routine. You exercise, then rest, then exercise some more. Over
time, you can shorten the rest periods and/or lengthen the
exercise periods. Rhythm and pacing make a big difference in how
much exercise you can tolerate.

It is recommended that you consult your doctor before starting
any new exercise regime.

About the Author: Jane Thompson has an interest in
Fibromyalgia. For further information on Fibromyalgia please
visit or


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