Regular exercise is important for everyone. There’s a reason it appears in virtually every health-related article you read: it’s the best thing you can do for your health and to prevent disease. However, even though it’s actually more important to exercise after you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic illness like fibromyalgia, your symptoms can make it harder to get exercise.
If you choose the right exercises, your illness should never have to stop you from being active. If you stay active now, you’re less likely to become completely disabled later, which is one big reason to choose to work out even when you don’t feel like it. Consider the following gentle exercises and lace up those sneakers.
Yoga is an almost perfect exercise for fibro sufferers. Yoga provides gentle stretching, gradual strengthening of muscles and a deep sense of relaxation that will help you manage your stress. Because many people with fibromyalgia wake up feeling stiff and sore in the mornings, you may want to take a warm bath to relax your muscles before attempting a morning workout. As long as you avoid a strenuous routine, doing yoga before bed can also improve your quality of sleep.
Exercise doesn’t have to suck! You may be so sore and out of shape that the thought of any exercise is overwhelming. But remember, when we say that exercise will help your health, that means any exercise. You don’t have to go out and start training for a marathon or take up CrossFit. Even going for a 30-minute walk after dinner can be an easy and relaxing way to get some exercise.
Swimming or Water Aerobics
Exercising in water is notoriously gentle. Yet it also gives a much better workout than you’d expect because the water provides natural resistance, like light weights you barely notice. Swimming laps in a heated pool can be incredibly relaxing and gently works out your muscles as well.
If swimming is not really your thing or you just want a change of pace, water aerobics are another great choice for fibro sufferers. Water aerobics are designed to be gentle but effective at the same time, working to tone your muscles. You get a great workout without feeling all sweaty, which is helpful since many fibro patients get overheated easily.
Exercise Bike or Elliptical Machine
Using an exercise bike or elliptical machine are both good choices for people with chronic pain. It provides a bit better of a workout than yoga or plain walking but is easier on the knees. Because you control the pace of your exercise on one of these machines, you can go faster on days when you feel strong or slow down on those days when you deserve a gold star just for showing up.
It’s not important what type of exercise you choose. Even as little as 10 to 15 minutes is better than nothing, and gradually you will be able to exercise for longer periods of time. Just get up and get moving!