4 Ways to Stay Fit with Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is an illness that causes chronic pain, fatigue and sleeping problems. Sufferers describe it as having a constant case of flu multiplied by ten. People who have fibromyalgia often hurt too much to exercise. However, doctors encourage exercise as part of fibromyalgia treatment. There are some exercises that are considered more safe than others for fibromyalgia sufferers.

1. Stretching

Often the first type of exercise doctors suggest for fibromyalgia patients is stretching. This is because chronic pain makes you exercise less and this weakens your muscles and can lead to atrophy. When your muscles atrophy from lack of use, they tighten up and shrink. The muscles must be slowly stretched back out before you can begin an exercise program.

Graduating from simple stretching to yoga is a natural progression that many fibromyalgia patients make. The great thing about yoga is that you can find a variation that suits your particular strengths and weaknesses. If you choose to advance your stretching workout to yoga, you can not only lengthen out your muscles, but also build your strength with more challenging versions of yoga.

2. Walking

Another great way to keep fit even when you have fibromyalgia is to simply walk. This exercise regimen requires only sturdy shoes and a safe place to walk. You can buy an inexpensive pedometer to measure your calories burned during your workout. In order to get the most out of a walking program, you will want to vary your pace. Short bursts of quicker steps will raise your heart rate. Since you control your pace, you are less likely to overexert yourself. In addition, you can carry hand weights and/or vary the way you pump your arms in order to work out your upper body while walking.

3. Swimming

If you have access to a pool, swimming is an excellent way to start a fibromyalgia exercise program. The buoyancy of the water takes the stress off of your already aching joints and muscles. Simple breast and back strokes can give you a good allover workout.

Swimming also has a natural progression available for you to aspire to. Water aerobics is a more structured way of exercising with an instructor leading group exercises. Many people who are in agony on land, even while doing the simplest of exercises, can comfortably do the same type of exercise when they are weightless in water.

4. Strength Training

Once fibromyalgia patients stretch out their muscles sufficiently, doctors strongly encourage them to begin strength building exercises. Since some fibromyalgia patients cannot lift a gallon jug without pain, strength training must be a slow process. It is, however, vital to regain your muscle strength to fight the affects of your illness.

If you are just beginning a weight training workout, you can use a couple of soup cans as your weights. As you graduate to heavier weights, you can choose from many different types including hand weights, weighted belts and ankle weights. There are many DVDs available that will give you a trainer to lead you through a workout for as little as twenty dollars.

Staying fit is a challenge for people who suffer from fibromyalgia, but it can be done.

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