What Are The Best Exercises For Fibromyalgia?

best exercise for reducing fibromyalgia pain
What Is The Best Exercise To Reduce Fibro Pain?

One of the best exercises for reducing fibromyalgia pain is walking. It is gentle on the joints, easy to do and helps ease muscle pain. It is important to know that fibromyalgia medications are not the only way to reduce fibromyalgia symptoms. Physical exercise can go a long way to improving your health naturally. While it may seem strange to recommend exercise to people who suffer from constant exhaustion, it really does have an energizing effect. In the past doctors used to think that exercise would worsen pain in fibro patients, so they used to encourage them to rest rather than take physical activity. However, since then, research shows that the opposite is in fact true. It appears that low impact (no jumping up and down) aerobic exercise helps patients to reduce pain by keeping their joints and muscle loose. It also helps to boost serotonin levels, the so-called happy hormone, which keeps our mood boosted. The same advice very much applies to people with arthritis pain.

Any walking program should be progressive, which means you gradually increase your pace and the time you spend walking. Start with 5 minutes a day and build by adding a further one minute once a week until you reach 30 minutes a day. See our article, best fibromyalgia exercises for a walking program recommended by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. You may also find it useful to read our article on fibromyalgia diet tips.

Other Good Exercises

Yoga: Excellent for building strength, balance and overall wellness.
Pilates: Helps increase flexibility and strength.
Tai Chi: Particularly good for people with signs of arthritis.
Biking: Using a real bike or stationary, either is good.
Swimming: Water exerts less strain on the body and allows for greater movement. Ideally the pool should be heated to between 83-90F.

Exercises To Avoid

1. Anything that involves a lot of jumping up and down (high impact aerobics) such as dancing or jazz aerobics.
2. Lifting weights, even very light weights can increase your pain.

Ideal Exercise Program

According to a study by the Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, the ideal exercise program for both fibromyalgia and arthritis patients is:

1. Progressive walking.
2. Simple strength training movements.
3. Stretching activities.

To do this, you might for example, walk 5 times a week and take a yoga or Pilates class twice a week (or use a DVD if a class is not convenient). Alternatively you could follow the Arthritis Foundation's Exercise Program. This program can be experienced in a class setting or on your own at home with a DVD. The classes are taught by a certified instructor and last one hour and are taken 2 or 3 nights a week for 8 weeks. The routines are easy, so you can continue to do them at home when the classes are over. Or, you can buy the Foundation’s one hour home-class DVD to follow in the comfort of your living room. If you would like to find a class in your area, or you would like to buy the DVD call the Arthritis Foundation office on 800-283-7800. Or check their website, www.arthritis.org.

Other Useful Questions

Take our quiz and check your symptoms. What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?
Find out if it possible to inherit the condition. Is fibromyalgia genetic?
If symptoms become so bad you can't work: Can I go on disability for fibromyalgia?
Link between FMS and car accidents. Can an accident or trauma trigger fibromyalgia?
Other therapies, drugs and medications: What is the best treatment for fibromyalgia pain?
Alternative therapies on the market: Can Botox be used to treat fibromyalgia?
Know the facts and learn about your condition. Can fibromyalgia be cured?
CFS versus FMS: Comparing illnesses. What is the difference between chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia?
What is the difference between fibromyalgia and arthritis?

• Need more information? See Fibromyalgia Guide or Guide to Arthritis
• Got another question? See: Womens Health Questions

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