Exercise is probably the last thing on your mind if you are suffering from fibromyalgia, but nevertheless it is essential if you want to eliminate pain and recover from the disease.
The symptoms of fibromyalgia may include local or widespread muscle pain, muscle spasms and cramps, headaches, chronic fatigue and insomnia, as well as emotional disorders such as anxiety, stress and depression. Engaging in regular exercises suitable for fibromyalgia can help to alleviate all these symptoms, so that you can begin to recover.
However, when exercising you should keep in mind that your muscles, joints and ligaments are limited, and thus you should take extra caution so that you do not overdo it. The key is to start off with an easy exercise for several minutes per day, and then slowly work your way up to something more challenging and for a longer duration.
Here are some simple yet very effective exercises to help with fibromyalgia.
Breathing may sound like an irrelevant exercise, but it is one of the most important exercises to practice when suffering from fibromyalgia. It helps to increase the amount of oxygen that is delivered to your organs and muscle tissues.
Oxygen helps the muscles to create more energy and also helps to prevent lactic acid build-up, which can contribute to poor muscle functions, and is often found in fibromyalgia patients. Oxygen is also very helpful for the brain, as it can help to clear the mind, and thereby reduce fibro fog, anxiety and depression.
To practice proper breathing lay down on your back (the floor works best, but your bed or a bath tub will work as well). Then with your hands over your stomach take a deep breath. Your goal is to breathe with your diaphragm which causes your stomach to expand with each breath that you take in. Then as you slowly exhale your stomach should fall back down.
It may take some practice until you can get your stomach to expand when you inhale, but you will get the hang of it with regular practice. A few minutes of conscious breathing each day will have lasting effects.
If your muscles are tight, or if you have severe muscle spasms or cramps then you may experience pain in your neck, back, chest or stomach when you inhale deep. This pain should go away as you continue to breathe deep, as the breathing will help to relax these muscles. If the pain does not go away, then you may want to have it checked out by a trusted medical professional.
Stretching not only helps the muscles to warm up, but it also helps them to open so that the blood can flow through more easily. This is essential in order to prevent further injury to the muscles, as well as to start the healing process.
Hatha Yoga is one of the many types of yoga that help to connect the mind and body. The difference with hatha is that it is more gentle and focuses more on stretching, breathing and meditating techniques. Thus the exercises are perfect for those suffering from fibromyalgia, as they work together to ease the physical and emotional pains associated with the disorder.
However, some poses may not be suitable for all fibromyalgia cases, and thus it is important that you know what you are capable of.
Meditation poses are helpful at night for relaxing and falling into a deep sleep. If you love aromatherapy or candles, then you can use those along with your meditation for an even greater effect.
Water exercises such as swimming, marching, stretching or floating are perfect for those who have problems with muscle movements and joints. The reason water is so great is because when in the water, the body weight is reduced tremendously, which makes it easier on the muscles and joints.
Warm water is very therapeutic, as it naturally warms the muscles. This helps to loosen stiff muscles and thereby it reduces the pain of stretching and other movements.
Walking outside in the fresh air will not only get the blood flow going, but it will also help to clear the mind and relieve emotional stress, anxiety and depression, especially when combined with proper breathing techniques.
Walking may seem like an easy exercise, but as with any other exercise you should not overdo it. Start with a short 5 to 10 minute walk and then slowly increase the distance as the body works up more strength and endurance.
And remember to bundle up if the weather is cold and drafty out, as any draft will cause your symptoms to flare up. You may also want to reduce your time spent outside on the very cold days to avoid a flare-up.
Remember that you can always walk on the spot indoors, or use a treadmill when the weather outside gets too cold and windy.
If you have a bike, and feel okay to ride it in short distances, then that may be the perfect exercise for you. While being out in the fresh air is always ideal, an indoor stationary bike will do just as well.
Believe it or not, but laughter is another great exercise to take part in if you are suffering from fibromyalgia. It may not seem like it, but an enormous amount of muscles are used every time you laugh, and thus it can be just as effective as any other light exercise. The harder you laugh the more muscles are used, and thus the more effective it is.
Laughter helps to naturally relieve anxiety and depression as well as physical pain. Therefore you should practise laughter whenever possible, for it really is the best medicine!
Exercises to Avoid
Even though exercising is great, there are a few exercises that you should avoid until your body is stronger. Some of these include strength training, exercising with weights, jogging or any other high aerobic exercise, as well as any sport or exercise that involves jumping up and down.