Exercise to Feel Better

Exercise to Feel Better

Exercising even just 2 to 3 times a week can help you feel better, but it can seem hard at first. Work with your doctor and physical therapist to find an exercise program that's right for you. Start slowly, tracking your progress and symptoms as you go.

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Symptoms: fatigue, weakness, muscle pain, weight gain, all over pain, tenderness, pain, stiffness, tender points, depression

Triggers:

Treatments:

Categories: Exercise

Duration

15

How Much Exercise

Exercising even a few times a week can help relieve fibromyalgia symptoms like fatigue, muscle pain, and depression. Take it slowly at first. If you have to, start with just 5 or 10 minutes of activity at a time. Gradually, add in a few more minutes as you feel ready. Eventually, you want to be active for at least 20 minutes on at least 2 or 3 days a week -- or more, if you feel like it.

Prompt: How much exercise?

CTA: What you need to feel benefits.

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Symptoms: fatigue, feeling sick, weakness, pain, tenderness, all over pain, depression, weight gain, low self-esteem, stiffness, difficulty sleeping, muscle pain, pain, stiffness, flu-like symptoms, tender points

Triggers: excess activity, exercising, overdoing it, stress, cold weather, damp weather

Treatments: exercise, muscle strengthening, walking, stretching, swimming, yoga, tai chi, biking, exercises, aerobic exercises, lifting weights, resistance training, strength training

Categories: Exercise

Workout Time

Exercise can improve your fibromyalgia symptoms, but don't try to jump too quickly into a routine. Start slowly. You may only be able to handle a short 5- or 10-minute daily walk at first. Add a minute to your exercise sessions each week, or whenever you feel ready. As you're able to exercise longer, pay attention to your body and don't overdo it. It's OK if you need to go easy now and then. Just be sure to keep moving!

Prompt: Don't overdo it.

CTA: Start slowly.

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Symptoms: fatigue, feeling sick, weakness, pain, tenderness, all over pain, depression, weight gain, low self-esteem, stiffness, difficulty sleeping, muscle pain, tender points

Triggers: excess activity, exercising, overdoing it, stress

Treatments: exercise, muscle strengthening, walking, stretching, swimming, yoga, tai chi, aerobic exercises, lifting weights, resistance training, strength training

Categories: Exercise

Best Fibro Exercises

You want your fibromyalgia exercise routine to have 4 elements: flexibility, aerobics, balance, and strength training. Begin by stretching your muscles and easing stiff joints. Yoga or tai chi can help improve flexibility. Then start slowly with low-impact exercises like walking or swimming. They'll help relieve pain and stiffness and give you a good aerobic workout while being gentle on your joints. 

Balance can become impaired, increasing your risk of falls.  In a safe place such as a doorway or at a kitchen counter where you can quickly grab hold of something stable and secure if needed and with your feet spread comfortably apart, close your eyes.  Once you can easily stay balanced for 10 seconds, try moving your feet closer together.  Yoga and tai chi are also beneficial for balance.  

Add in strength training two or three times a week, working with light hand weights or resistance bands.

Prompt: Pick your exercise.

CTA: Finding the right routine.

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Symptoms: fatigue, feeling sick, weakness, pain, tenderness, all over pain, depression, weight gain, low self-esteem, stiffness, difficulty sleeping, muscle pain, tender points

Triggers: excess activity, exercising, overdoing it, stress

Treatments: exercise, muscle strengthening, walking, stretching, swimming, yoga, tai chi,  exercises, aerobic exercises, balance exercises, lifting weights, resistance training, strength training

Categories: Exercise

Pool Exercises

Swimming or taking a water aerobics class is a great workout for fibromyalgia because it's good exercise and easy on joints. A warm pool (between 83 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit) will give you the added benefit of soothing tight muscles and sore joints. If you can't get to the pool every day, alternate swimming with another routine, like walking.

Prompt: Take the plunge.

CTA: Try exercising in a warm pool.

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Symptoms: fatigue, weakness, pain, tenderness, all over pain, depression, weight gain, low self-esteem, stiffness, difficulty sleeping, muscle pain, tender points

Triggers: exercising, overdoing it

Treatments: exercise, muscle strengthening, walking, swimming, exercises, aerobic exercises

Categories: Exercise

Reasons to Exercise

Staying active can make you feel better in so many ways. Exercise helps relieve pain and stiffness, boosts energy, reduces stress, and helps you rest better at night. It also strengthens muscles and bones, improves balance, and helps you control your weight. The key is to work out at your own pace. See your doctor or physical therapist for advice before starting any new exercise program.

Prompt: Why exercise?

CTA: How it helps your fibromyalgia.

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Symptoms: fatigue, weakness, pain, tenderness, all over pain, depression, mood changes, weight gain, low self-esteem, stiffness, difficulty sleeping, muscle pain, joint tenderness, tender points, difficulty sleeping, insomnia

Triggers: exercising, overdoing it, stress, sadness

Treatments: exercise, muscle strengthening, stretching, tai chi, yoga, exercises, stress reduction, aerobic exercise, balance exercises, lifting weights, Pilates, range-of-motion exercises, resistance training, strength training, swimming, walking

Categories: Exercise

Getting Results

You can't wait to start feeling better, but remember that exercise is a gradual process. It may take up to 6 months to see any real improvements in your symptoms. Be patient, and don't try to rush your progress. Gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts, and eventually you will start to notice real, positive changes in the way you feel. A physical therapist can also help guide your program, making adjustments according to your response to exercise.

Prompt: Seeing changes.

CTA: When you'll see exercise benefits.

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Symptoms: fatigue, weakness, pain, tenderness, all over pain, depression, mood changes, weight gain, low self-esteem, stiffness, difficulty sleeping, muscle pain, joint tenderness, tender points

Triggers: excess activity, exercising, overdoing it

Treatments: exercise, muscle strengthening, stretching, tai chi, yoga, exercises, stress reduction, aerobic exercise, balance exercises, lifting weights, Pilates, range-of-motion exercises, resistance training, strength training, swimming, walking

Categories: Exercise

When to Work Out

You want to exercise when your energy is at its peak and your symptoms are most quiet. Many people with fibromyalgia feel at their best between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. If you're an early morning person, choose an earlier time instead. Sleep is important, and exercising within 2 to 3 hours of going to bed at night may interfere with your sleep. Exercising when you're feeling good will make you more likely to stick with the program.

Prompt: When to exercise?

CTA: Learn the best time to exercise.

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Symptoms: fatigue, weakness, pain, tenderness, all over pain, aching, tenderness, stiffness, difficulty sleeping, muscle pain, joint tenderness, tender points

Triggers: exercising

Treatments: exercise, muscle strengthening, stretching, tai chi, yoga, exercises, stress reduction, aerobic exercise, balance exercises, lifting weights, Pilates, range-of-motion exercises, resistance training, strength training, swimming, walking

Categories: Exercise

How to Walk

Walking seems easy, but with fibromyalgia you need to make sure you're using the right technique. Take small steps and don't swing your arms too much at first. Start on a flat, even path.  You might start with 5-minute walking sessions once a day. Add a minute every other day or so, until you're able to walk for at least 20 minutes or more a day several times a week. You don't have to do all the time at once -- you can try 2 walks of 10 minutes each.

Prompt: Take small steps.

CTA: Start walking for fibro.

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Symptoms: fatigue, weakness, pain, tenderness, all over pain, aching, tenderness, stiffness, muscle pain, joint tenderness, unrefreshing sleep, difficulty sleeping, tender points

Triggers: exercising

Treatments: exercise, exercises, aerobic exercise, walking

Categories: Exercise

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Tyler Wheeler, MD on January 22, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

American College of Rheumatology.

Wolfe, F. Arthritis Care & Research, May 2010.

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: "Fibromyalgia" and "Fast Facts About Fibromyalgia."

Fibromyalgia Network: "Symptoms" and "Treatment Studies."

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Fibromyalgia and Exercise."

Arthritis Foundation: "Fibromyalgia: What Is It?;" "Fibromyalgia: What Causes It?;" and "Fibromyalgia: Treatment Options."

Science Daily: "A Regular Dip in the Pool Could Benefit FMS Sufferers" and "Exercise and Education Helps Women with Fibromyalgia."

American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association: "What is Fibromyalgia?"

National Fibromyalgia Association: "Understanding Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain" and "What are the Symptoms?"

National Institutes of Health: "The Effect of Qigong on Fibromyalgia;" "Fast Facts About Fibromyalgia;" and "Questions and Answers About Fibromyalgia."

Fibromyalgia Information Foundation: "Top 10 Principles for Prescribing Exercise in Fibromyalgia."

Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center: "Yoga for People with Arthritis."

Clauw, D. American Journal of Medicine, December 2009.

Haslett, A. Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America, May 2009.

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