Fibromyalgia Fitness: Top 7 Activities For Fibromyalgia Survivors

Want to know which activities are best suited for fibromyalgia survivors? Stay tuned to find out about the top 7. When you’re sore and achy the last thing that you want to consider doing is exercising. However it’s exactly what’s going to help lessen the joint soreness and muscle pain often associated with fibromyalgia. The research is clear. By developing the positive habit of physical activity over time you’ll see a significant reduction in your fibro symptoms such as reduced pain, increased overall well-being, improved moods, greater mental alertness and reduced fatigue. Of course the benefits of exercise don’t happen overnight. The body adapts slowly to regular physical activity with visible improvements showing up in about 4 to 6 weeks. So what’s the best way to get started? Here’s an easy approach to starting a simple exercise routine. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends you begin with a 5-minute daily session of a low-impact aerobic activity for the first week or so. As the body slowly adapts to the new demands that you are placing on it increase your sessions in 5-minute increments until you are comfortable doing the activity for 30 minutes. This may take 4 to 6 weeks of initial dedication. Keep in mind that it’s important to maintain -a constant daily activity level whereby you’re not overdoing any routine. For example avoid doing marathon cleaning sessions in and around the house leaving you exhausted at day’s end. Engage in shorter sessions that accomplish your tasks while addressing your physical limitations. As a general rule of thumb, look for cardio-vascular activities that support the body and provide a low-impact environment. Often those suffering from fibromyalgia find it challenging to get started with an exercise routine that’ll eventually provide some symptom relief down the road. The good news is that the simple act of stretching is a great way to initially establish the positive habit of pursuing an active fulfilling life. Which brings us to our first activity that could help you: Yoga – Yoga is an ancient practice, which involves more than just stretching. It is a philosophy that advocates deep breathing, meditation, proper diet, ethical living and physical conditioning. This physical conditioning is known by us Westerners as "hatha" yoga, which has different styles or practices. Certain yoga postures help to relieve stress and pain in the body. As with many new activities it takes time to feel the benefits. Depending on your degree of pain and your dedication to practicing yoga pain relief may take from several days to several weeks of regular practice. Don’t give up too early should you see little sign of improvement in the first few sessions. The key is to practice it on a consistent basis and allow your body to adapt to your new routine. With time and a little patience you should see some changes in your overall health. #2 is Tai Chi. The Chinese developed a series of basic gentle movements that mimic natural animal movements. These graceful movements have been shown to be a good form of exercise for people with fibromyalgia. The art of Tai Chi allows you to get in touch with your inner self on a physical and meditative level. This particular form of gentle exercise is a great way to start any physical activity program since it is low impact. It is often recommended as a form of exercise for the elderly and ill. #3. Aqua Exercise Classes. Exercising in an aquatic environment can be an ideal medium for you the fibromyalgia survivor. Aqua exercise is a great way to start an exercise program as it is both low impact and low in intensity. Just the simple act of walking in water allowing your body’s natural buoyancy to support you is a great way of getting started. My recommendation is that you try to enroll in an instructor-led aqua exercise class that allows you to learn proper technique in a safe supervised environment. The added benefit of exercising in water is that you can adjust the level of resistance by adding floatation devices, water shoes, foam weights and kick boards. #4. Swimming and Pool Walking. Should you be a swimmer then you may wish to gravitate towards swimming as your preferred water activity. The buoyancy of the water supports the body thereby decreasing the negative effects of performing the activity as may be the case in a weight-bearing environment such as running or weight-training. Mixing up your swimming strokes provides a complete, total body workout. I have personally found pool walking to be a great way to exercise. Pool walking doesn’t stress the muscles like a land-based weight-bearing activity such as running. To get started just slip on a buoyancy belt or lifejacket. Slide into some chest deep water in the pool. Then mimic the walking, running or cycling motion in order to get in a great workout without the pounding. Exercise #5 is cycling. Whether you choose to use a stationary bicycle or head out to along a cycling trail your body weight is being supported by the seat and frame of the bike. This takes much of the pressure from your body weight off of key joints such as your knees and ankles. Cycling is a great form of exercise if you are slightly overweight as it offers some additional support minimizing the joint stress and strain that can sometimes occur with other forms of activity. Besides cycling another low impact activity often found in fitness facilities is the elliptical trainer. An elliptical trainer combines the motion of cycling with that of walking. These treadmill-like devices often incorporate exercise for the arms as well providing the body with a complete aerobic exercise routine. #6. Rowing or Paddling Both rowing and paddling are low impact activities done from a seated position with primarily your upper body and core being involved in the activity. Rowing can often be done at the local gym as many facilities have rowing machines at their disposal. Keep in mind that your upper body will fatigue faster than an activity that primarily uses your lower extremities. If such is the case take it easy in the beginning. If you are using a rowing machine adjust the tension down so that the resistance is easy to manage. Should you be looking at paddling as a possible pursuit both canoeing and kayaking are great outdoor sports that can give you a whole new perspective of your local river, lake or coastal waterway. Kayaking is one of my favorite summer pastimes especially along some of the breathe-taking waterways of the Pacific Northwest. And #7. Walking or Hiking. Probably the simplest weight-bearing activity that we are familiar with is that of walking. It requires very little in the way of special equipment just a good pair of walking or running shoes. Nor does it require a special facility. You can walk almost anywhere at any time of the day and in most weather conditions. The key to starting a walking program is to ensure that you have the proper footwear that is going to properly support and cushion your feet. Going to a specialty store that sells walking and running apparel is well worth the extra time spent. Hiking in the great outdoors is one of my favorite summertime pastimes especially when I can head into a pristine mountain wilderness area. It can be a more invigorating activity than just walking as you often need to carry a small fanny pack or backpack of essentials such as water, snacks, first aid supplies and extra clothing. The key is to pace yourself from the get-go. You may feel like a million bucks heading out onto the trail with renewed enthusiasm only to have overdone it within the first 15 minutes. Alright – there you have it, 7 low impact activities to consider trying over the coming weeks. Take a moment to click the thumbs up if you liked the video. If you really liked it go ahead and click that share button to tell all your girlfriends about it. And if you want to make sure you get more where that came from be sure to subscribe. Until next time – Stay Positive – Stay Strong – Stay Informed.