If youve been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, the feelings of muscle pain, fatigue and deep aching areas in your body, are all too familiar. Considering these symptoms, its not surprising if exercise sounds like a terrible if not impossible - suggestion. But medical experts say its the sure-fire way to go. Why? Movement not only keeps your body fit and youthful, but it can also be a powerful pain reliever and effective mood booster.
But not all exercises are exactly what the doctor ordered. The best approaches are low-impact with stretching, swimming, tai chi, yoga or Pilates. These types of exercises are important because they keep muscles powerful and flexible, and help patients maintain a healthy weight. They also lower stress. Research proves exercise releases powerful brain chemicals called endorphins that can make even those in pain feel more optimistic about life by reducing anxiety, stress, and depression.
There are plenty of other benefits to exercise too: It can improve sleep, increase the range of motion in otherwise tight muscles and joints, strengthen bones and muscles and as a result reduce, even relieve pain. Also, its been shown when patients take on a regular exercise program, they feel in charge of their disease: less like a victim and more empowered to take control of their lives.
TAKE YOUR PICK OF EXERCISE PLANSResearch shows that walking, strength training and stretching are the perfect trifecta to improve physical, emotional and social abilities. In other studies, aquatic activities have been shown to reduce symptoms of the disease. Plus, participants rate higher on survey of over-all quality of life. Recommended:Pilates: focuses on strengthening the core muscles and on breathing. Youll need to be guided by an instructor either with private instruction or in a group class. If you choose the latter, be sure to tell the teacher about your condition before the class begins.Yoga: has been proven to not only eliminate stress (a factor related to fibromyalgia) but also reduce tension and muscle pain, increase balance and range of motion, and ultimately reduce the risk of injury. Start with a beginners class and tell the teacher about your condition before it starts.Tai chi: this ancient Asian practice involves a series of movements that can increase balance and range of motion, and strengthen muscles and joints. It also increases flexibility and instills a sense of meditative calm. Its also known as meditation in motion.Aquatics: as you move against the water it strengths and conditions your body, while supporting your weight so theres no strain on your muscles and joints. Slow movements and gentle strokes are best. You might want to use the aid of a kick board; even so,l keep your kicks slow and refined.
Ultimately, any exercise program that feels good to a Fibromyalgia can be beneficial. Dont be hesitant to try your hand at golf or tennis walking, even light weight training. But if youre just starting out on an exercise program, speak with our doctor about it first, and work on a plan that begins slowly and picks up speed.Robin Westen is ThirdAges medical reporter. Check for her daily updates. She is the author of Relationship Repair.See what others have to say about this story or leave a comment of your own.