Fibromyalgia Exercise Step 5: Modify Your Workout
Whether you’re walking or participating in an exercise class, these exercise tips can help prevent injury or pain:
- Exercise at the time of day that you feel best. For many people with fibromyalgia, this is between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. But your best time may be different.
- Stretch. This can help warm up muscles and minimize pain after exercise. You can stretch while lying down, standing, or sitting in a chair. Some people may find it helpful to stretch in a warm bath or shower.
- Take small steps. When walking, try not to swing your arms too much or take big steps. Walk on flat, even surfaces to reduce your risk of falling.
- Ease into strength training. For strengthening exercises, consider using elastic bands instead of weights and start with a single set of repetitions.
- Pace yourself. When doing stretching or strengthening exercises, alternate sides often and take a short rest between repetitions.
- Take breaks. Again, listen to your body. “When I was first starting, I’d rest after just a few minutes of exercise,” Matallana says. “Don’t be afraid to go as slowly as you need to.”
- Pamper yourself afterward. When you’re finished exercising, take a hot shower or bath.
Fibromyalgia Exercise Step 6: Be Patient
Although exercise can improve the symptoms of fibromyalgia, the effects are not always immediate. “Exercise is really the best long-term treatment for the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia,” Jones says. “But it can take up to six months before you notice a change in your symptoms.”
“You definitely need to be patient and work slowly,” Matallana says. “It may seem like it’s taking forever to reach your goals. But as you gradually increase your movement, you will feel better and notice a decrease in your symptoms. In my experience, exercise is the No. 1 thing to start you on your journey to wellness.”