Exercise and Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a debilitating condition affecting between 1 and 3% of the general population. The syndrome is characterized by widespread muscle aches and pains, stiffness, fatigue and muscle spasms. Many people with fibromyalgia report difficulty doing everyday activities such as carrying objects, walking and working with their arms. Pain, fatigue, helplessness, psychological distress and difficulty coping with stresses plague many people with the condition. No one knows what causes fibromyalgia, but it is thought to be a combination of increased sensitivity to pain and environmental and psychological factors.
Can Exercise Help?
Common sense suggests that individuals with fibromyalgia shouldn’t exercise. And many people limit physical activity out of fear that it will make their symptoms worse. But in reality, if you have fibromyalgia, you can’t afford to not exercise.
Properly done exercise interrupts the downhill spiral of muscular and cardiovascular deconditioning and the resulting loss of function. Deconditioning leads to increased muscle soreness after even minimal amounts of physical activity. Additionally, many individuals have postural imbalances, tight muscles and poor range of motion, all of which place more strain on the body and movement.
A program including consistent aerobic exercise improves function, symptoms and well-being. And strength training improves muscle strength and reduces exercise-related pain and exercise-induced muscle fatigue. Overall, an exercise program can help to alleviate many of the physically and emotionally painful symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Exercising Safely With Fibromyalgia
Prior to increasing physical activity, discuss your plans with your physician. Then we at Vertex Fitness can assist you in developing your activity program and guide your rate of progression.
Because postural imbalances and tight, inflexible muscles are common in individuals with fibromyalgia, every activity session should begin and end with mobility (flexibility and range-of-motion) activities. These exercises should be done slowly, emphasizing quality of movement, and never be painful.
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