Engaging in regular exercise is essential if you are suffering from fibromyalgia. It not only will help to relieve the physical soreness of the muscles, but it can also help you to sleep better at night, and thereby reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression and fatigue.
However, as important as exercising is, it is even more important that you do it correctly to avoid further injury to your muscles. Here are some exercise tips to help you get started.
Getting help is probably one of the best things that you can do for yourself. Your condition is complicated, and thus there may be a lot that you do not know about it.
A trained physio therapist who understands what fibromyalgia is, can guide you in the right direction as to which exercises to start off with. There may be some exercises that are suitable for some patients, but not for others, and it is important that you avoid any type of exercise that will cause further damage.
In addition, a physio therapist will also be able to answer all your questions that you may have so that you can better understand your disease. It is important that you understand your disease, as it will help you to better deal with it, both physically and emotionally.
Furthermore, if you develop pain in a certain area after you begin your exercises, a physio therapist will be able to help you figure out whether that is normal or not. He or she will then be able to make recommendations as to whether or not to continue with the exercise.
Start With Easy Exercises
It is very important that you begin with easy exercises. Most likely you do not know what your muscles are capable of, and thus it is important to begin slow so that you do not further aggravate your symptoms.
Depending on how severe your condition is, you may only want to do some light stretches on the first few days. This will get the muscles to somewhat open up and get them ready for other exercises.
Then you may want to move on to hatha yoga, which involves a lot of stretching, but also focuses on breathing and relaxation.
Swimming is another great light exercise that you can start off with. If you do not know how to swim, then you can do other water exercises such as water marching, body stretches or just float on the water.
Walking and biking are also great exercises that you can start off with. Just remember that when you go for a walk or a bike ride, that you do not venture too far, as you still have to make your way back home again.
At one point in your life you may have been able to run straight for 30 minutes or longer, but now that you have fibromyalgia, you may not even be able to walk for 3 minutes. If that is the case then that is all that you should do.
Your goal is to start off with easy and short exercise sessions which you can build upon as your body begins to heal. You may only be able to last a few minutes the first few days, but then as the weeks go on, you will be able to work it up to 10 minutes and longer.
You should never push yourself so that you end up with sore muscles the next day. However, slightly sore muscles are okay, but the pain should go away. If the pain does not go away, then you may need to get further help, or reduce the length of your exercise sessions.
Learn to Breathe Correctly
Another thing that you should focus on is to learn how to breathe correctly. Most people breathe into the chest area, which does not utilize the full capacity of the lungs. You should always breathe with your diaphragm and into your stomach. Thus when you inhale your stomach should expand.
When breathing correctly in this manner, the full capacity of your lungs are used. Your muscle tissues and organs receive more oxygen, which helps to relieve mental fog, depression, muscle spasms, and overall helps to relax the mind and body. Thus when you breathe correctly during an exercise session you will not feel as tired afterward.
In addition, the oxygen can help to prevent lactic acid buildup in the muscle tissues, which is often an issue for fibromyalgia patients.
Stretch Your Muscles Prior to Exercising
Always stretch your muscles prior to exercising to give them a chance to open and warm up. This helps to reduce the pain and muscle stiffness that exercise can cause, and also helps to prevent further injury to your muscles.
Stretch your muscles until you begin to feel a slight stretch, but never until it hurts. If your muscles are very stiff, and even the slightest stretch causes pain, then you may want to consider warming them up in a hot bath first. The hot water will naturally warm and relax the muscles so that the stretching will be less painful.
A hot bath after exercising can also be very helpful in relaxing the worn out muscles and thereby prevent pain that may occur as a result of the exercise.
Always Listen to Your Body
You may think that you are capable of enduring a 15 minute walk or exercise session, but your body may not agree with you. You should understand that some days are better than others, and you will not always be able to do what you did the previous day.
Therefore it is important that you listen to your body, and stop your exercise session as soon as you begin to feel tired. If you have gone for a walk, or a bike ride and begin to feel tired at the half-way mark, then simply take a break and rest for a few minutes before heading back. The main thing is that you do not overdo it, as that could cause further damage.
Meditating is a great way for the body to relax as it becomes one with the mind. It can be done before or after any exercise session, or before bedtime to help you relax so that you can sleep better.
Meditation is usually done in a sitting position with the legs crossed, the back up straight, eyes closed and the hands resting on the knees. Proper breathing can also be practised during this time, as it will also help your body and mind to relax.
Join a Group
Joining a group or just partnering up with someone can also be very beneficial. Others can help to support you and to keep you motivated, and prevent you from skipping exercise sessions on days when you do not feel so good.
A group is also there for socializing, which in turn can help to relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Fluids are very important as they help to keep the body hydrated. Always carry a water bottle especially when exercising to prevent dehydration.