Fibromyalgia Exercise Step 2: Start Slowly continued...
Moving your body at all may be difficult at first, but as you continue, you should notice that the activity gets easier.
A 2010 study published in Arthritis Research & Therapy found that regular daily activities, such as taking the stairs, gardening, or doing chores, can help reduce pain and improve daily functioning for those with fibromyalgia. “This study shows us that every bit of activity is beneficial for fibromyalgia pain,” Clauw says. “It doesn’t need to be a formal exercise program.”
Fibromyalgia Exercise Step 3: Listen to Your Body
If you were very active before fibromyalgia, you may need to learn a different approach to exercise now. Many people try to do too much too soon and then feel frustrated when their symptoms flare up.
“For those who were used to being athletic, we often need to teach them to listen to their body and learn to take it more slowly than they may be used to,” says Kim D. Jones, PhD, associate professor at the Oregon Health and Science University School of Nursing in Portland.
Eventually, you will learn what level of exercise is good for you and how much is too much.
Fibromyalgia Exercise Step 4: Do Something Every Day
“To get the most benefit from exercise, you really need to do it on a daily or almost daily basis,” Clauw says. “So for many people, the best options may be walking or using exercise equipment, since these are activities that are easily accessible most days of the year.”
Exercising in a warm pool is another good way to start being active. Warm water has a soothing effect on muscles and joints and may make exercise less painful. But even if you start in a pool, it’s still a good idea to work towards a ground-based workout.
“I’m not a big fan of the continued use of warm water exercise because most people don’t have access to a heated pool every day,” Clauw says.
Cycling, running, yoga, strength training, and low-impact exercise classes are just a few other ways to get exercise and help ease the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
“The most important thing is to find some kind of exercise you enjoy,” Matallana says. “Take a walk, visit your neighbor, walk the dog. If you can find a friend or family member to exercise with you, that can be helpful, too.”