I get it. When you’re living with fibromyalgia and experiencing extreme muscle pain and fatigue, exercise is the last thing you feel like doing. However, light exercise can actually greatly reduce fibromyalgia symptoms and make walks of life comfier and safer for you too.
Adding even the littlest bit of movement in the beginning will probably cause some fatigue and added pain, plan to rest after and ice a few minutes. It takes about two months until there is no pain and fatigue from the new exercise movements. The pain and fatigue do subside with regular consistent movement.
Stretching daily in bed and after getting up helps release muscle tension and decrease pain. It’s amazing how one day the tightness is excruciatingly painful in between the shoulder blades and the next day in the upper thigh. Each day stretching will help with your total ability to move and perform exercises!
Here are some of our favorite tips to incorporate light exercise into your routine.
Focusing on Body Circulation, not Strength
A common misconception when it comes to “needing to exercise” is that exercise only counts when it is intense. Semi-painful exercise is not the way to go! Working out to this point often results in flopping onto a couch or floor and regretting life.
Thankfully, this kind of exercise is only helpful for intense workout goals in stamina and muscle strength. Neither of these is essential to help relieve fibromyalgia symptoms!
Instead, you’ll want to focus on achieving that feeling of “good tired” from workouts. This feeling is akin to heaviness or soreness of the limbs, without a pit in the stomach of exercise regret. Sometimes, after light exercise, icing is needed to help you feel better!
The goal with exercise for reducing fibromyalgia symptoms is to start with light exercises. Then, you can slowly ramp up into intermediate-level exercises. Starting with a simple 5-10 minute daily walk will help improve blood circulation and pain, or shoot for a small walk to the mailbox 3 times a week. I get it, every day is different and when starting to move more. Even small additions can keep your body functioning properly!
The Best Exercises to Reduce Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Most exercises that are not too strenuous are ideal to reduce fibromyalgia symptoms. The key here is to concentrate on breathing and a slight increase in heart rate, not in lifting obscene amounts of weight or traversing long trails.
Water aerobics works well to get you moving because it causes less stress on your joints and muscles. Even then you still can feel it and you have to get there. Always choose a place that heats up the pool water.
Yoga is another good place to begin at home or in a studio. Start with basic moves and go slow and steady! Learn how to do a few poses then put them together.
Interestingly enough, the Chinese martial art of tai chi can reduce fibromyalgia symptoms. Tai chi focuses on slow, purposeful movements and breathing. This makes it a wonderful option for those with fibromyalgia without being too strenuous.
The medical journal The BMJ conducted a study on the effects of tai chi and moderate-intensity aerobic exercises on fibromyalgia patients. Both exercises reduced fibromyalgia symptoms in participants. However, the tai chi-practicing group experienced a much larger reduction in fibromyalgia symptoms.
The study compared groups that practiced tai chi twice a week vs. groups engaging in moderate-intensity aerobic exercises twice a week. Are you looking for a new exercise to mix up your routine? Tai chi is a wonderful non-intimidating option.
Fibromyalgia and Exercise
There is a lot of hesitation with starting exercise as someone with fibromyalgia. With muscle pain and fatigue, exercise can seem like a horrible option for those with fibromyalgia who are prone to pain flare-ups.
However, exercise can also be a wonderful strengthening tool to reduce the frequency of pain and increase energy. Work first on your flexibility and muscle strength. Then, you can slowly improve your body’s circulation and ability to perform daily duties.
This will make your overall life with fibromyalgia easier over time. Focus on incorporating smaller exercises first and building from there, and you’ll be on your way to a better life with fibromyalgia.
Ready to learn more about living effectively alongside FM? Read more on our blog today.