I know there are times when just the thought of exercise is way of the scale…but through personal experience and evidence it’s been shown time and time again that gentle exercise is beneficial to people with fibromyalgia in so many ways including cognitive functions.
I have to admit, long gone are the days of Zumba, I’m sure it would kill me now, but it’s been replaced with Tai chi, gentle walking and my beloved exercise bike (although the seat could be softer.)
It has taken several attempts at different exercises to find out what works for me and there are days where gentle stretching while laying on my bed are quite enough.
The mistake I made was to approach exercise as though I didn’t have fibromyalgia and I did not increase my nutritional intake whilst exercising. This left me with a flare bad enough to debilitate me for several days…not the result I was looking for. There have been times when I wanted to hit the next person that said exercise more during times of pain, but I held back, knowing they do not understand the level of pain and exhaustion us fibro warriors can feel.
Firstly, gauge where you are in terms of fitness right now. Perhaps a couple of gentle stretches are enough for you at this time, and that’s fine, you can very slowly build from here.
How do you feel a few days after exercising? Did the exercise cause a flare? If so, reduce the amount and intensity of the exercise or try something totally different.
The critical key here is to LISTEN to your Body. Only do what feels comfortable for you!
Types of Exercise Recommended for People Living with Fibromyalgia
Hydrotherapy – I was referred by my physiotherapist to our local hydrotherapy pool, when my pain was at a very high level and I found moment very challenging. The warm water soothed my pain and supported my body enabling me to move very slowly. I still took things very slowly as I knew if I didn’t, I would still face a flare after the exercise.
Yoga – very gentle stretches and breathing techniques help to calm and energise your mind and body. Choose a type of yoga that is gentle and you can do at your own pace. Again listen to your body and do what you feel comfortable with.
Tai Chi – is also called, ‘moving meditation’ and it is a no-impact, flowing, gentle exercise designed to re-energise the movement of chi through your body inducing good health. Although this is a very gentle form of exercise, listen to your body, start slowly and keep the duration limited. Remember the key is to only do what is comfortable for you.
Bicycle – I prefer to use my exercise bike as I can get a little dizzy as is common amongst people who live with fibro, therefore I am not so confident on the road. It is also convenient because I work from home. I have set up a routine where I will sit at my desk and work for 15 to 20 minutes and then do some movement. It maybe gentle stretches, going outside into the garden or using my trusty exercise bike.
Walking – I love to take a walk in the park. I am fortunate to live close to a huge park and, weather and mobility permitting, I drive over in the morning, park and walk for a short time, breathing in the fresh air and listening to the sounds around me. I do find this invigorating and miss it lots if my health is not up to going. My walking stick has seen much of the park along side me on days when I am not feeling so mobile, then I cut back to around 5 to 10 minutes but just that short time, definitely helps me. Walk at your pace, and for a duration that is comfortable for you.
Remember to stay well hydrated at all times, especially when taking part in exercise.
Relaxing, gentle exercise can help lower stress levels allow improvement to your memory as well as increasing the flow of oxygen to the organs including the brain.
You can always meet up with friends or arrange to meet with other people living with fibromyalgia to keep it fun. Differentiate the type of exercise you do so that you don’t get bored with repetition of the same exercise, a major reason for people stopping exercise.
Please do speak to your health professional before commencing any exercise regime if you are worried or need advice.
Have a wonderful day xxx