Fibromyalgia is a painful and tiring musculoskeletal disorder that affects approximately 5% of people around the globe. The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown but research into this disorder suggests that making positive lifestyle choices is one of the most effective ways to treat it. In this article I’m going to be focusing on one particular positive lifestyle choice – exercise and explaining how it can help manage and even treat fibromyalgia.
How Does Regular Exercise Treat Fibromyalgia?
Exercise may not sound like the best thing to be doing when you are tired and in pain. However, research has consistently shown that regular exercise has a positive effect on fibromyalgia. The list below outlines some of the many ways that exercise can help treat fibromyalgia and manage the unpleasant symptoms associated with this disorder:
1) Exercise Improves Your Flexibility:Two of the main symptoms of fibromyalgia are stiffness and pain. Regular exercise helps to offset these uncomfortable symptomsby improving the flexibility of your joints, muscles and tendons. Not only does this make you feel less stiff but it also makes moving around less painful.
2) Exercise Increases Blood Flow: Another negative symptom of fibromyalgia is pins and needles in the extremities. Exercising regularly helps alleviate this unpleasant symptom by improving the supply of blood to all areas of your body, including your fingers and toes.
3) Exercise Stimulates The Release Of Beneficial Hormones: Although no one knows the exact cause of fibromyalgia, studies have consistently shown that people who suffer from this disorder have lower levels of certain hormones in their brain and nervous system than healthy individuals. Consistent exercise can help address this problem by stimulating the production of the mood boosting, pain relieving hormones – endorphins and serotonin which in turn helps treat the pain and depression associated with fibromyalgia.
Tips For Exercising With Fibromyalgia
While exercise is undoubtedly a brilliant way to treat fibromyalgia naturally, you do need to take care when formulating your workout plan. A poor workout plan will lead to poor results and may even end up doing more harm than good. The good news is that formulating an effective workout plan isn’t difficult and if you follow the tips below, you’ll have no problems putting one together:
1) Start Off Slow: The most important thing when you begin exercising with fibromyalgia is that you start off slow. In most cases it takes at least a couple of weeks before exercising starts to have a noticeable effect on your fibromyalgia and if you workout too hard during this time, you’ll cause yourself unnecessary pain.
2) Choose Low Impact Exercises: Another thing to bear in mind when exercising with fibromyalgia is that certain exercises are much more painful than others. For example, high impact exercises like running place much more pressure on your joints and cause greater pain than low impact exercises like swimming. By choosing low impact exercises, you’ll avoid this additional pain and have a much more pleasurable experience when working out.
3) Be Consistent: Consistency is very important when exercising with fibromyalgia. If you’re not exercising almost every day, it will have little to no effect on your symptoms and you’ll struggle to make any progress. For the best results, try and fit in at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.
4) Create A Varied Workout Plan: Different types of exercise benefit your fibromyalgia in different ways. For example, cardiovascular exercises improve blood flow and offset pins and needles. Stretching exercises improve your flexibility and reduce stiffness. Resistance based exercises increase your strength and indirectly reduce fibromyalgia related pain by providing the vulnerable areas of your body with the support they need. To get the maximum benefit from your workout plan, you need to incorporate all these different types of exercises and be doing each type at least once a week.
Along with a healthy diet, regular exercise is one of the best ways to treat fibromyalgia. So if you’re not currently doing some form of physical activity every day, start building your workout plan now. It may seem painful in the early stages but in the long run it will be highly beneficial for your fibromyalgia.