I'm glad you asked about exercising with fibromyalgia. Many patients (and their doctors) are so focused on medicine that they may overlook exercise. Yet exercise should be a key part of treatment.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes widespread body pain. We dont know what causes it. Medications can help. But they aren't always effective and side effects are common.
Experts agree that it's important to exercise if you have fibromyalgia. In fact, I know doctors who wont prescribe a medicine until the patient is exercising.
Many studies have shown that exercise helps fibromyalgia. But so far, no ideal type of exercise has been identified.
I recommend a combination of:
- Aerobic exercise. Walk, swim or bike, as these exercises do not put high stress on the joints.
- Stretching. People with fibromyalgia have less flexibility. So stretching out sore muscles and tendons can ease your pain.
- Strengthening. Try exercises that increase muscle power and tone, including your core muscles (such as the back and abdominal muscles)
Recent research has also shown that Tai Chi can help.
Since there is no one best type of exercise for fibromyalgia, the first step is to gradually increase activity in whatever way you can. Pick an activity you enjoy so you'll stick with it. Pair up with an exercise partner. He or she can encourage you to exercise when you are tempted to skip. For many people, exercise is more fun when it's a social activity.