I Walked a Half Marathon with Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia can make your whole body hurt. But I walk anyway, and it changes everything.

Medically reviewed in March 2022

Walking Against the Odds

Here's the thing: I have to keep moving or I can't move! My fibromyalgia makes my whole body hurt, especially my hands, feet, neck, and back. Most of the time I feel like I've been clubbed with a sledgehammer. I am always aware of every body part and how it feels (usually NOT good). Walking makes me better.

How walking helps: It warms up painful muscles and clears my head. Even more important, it gets the endorphins circulating -- they're your body's natural painkillers. It takes 30 minutes or longer for my body to feel any better at all. At first I am aware of every painful footstep, knee bend, and so on. But as I warm up, it gets easier. By the end of a 60-minute walk, I don't feel like the same person who started! My muscles are stretched, warmer, less painful. My mind is less stressed, calmer . . . I can move without noticing every body part.

My routine: I am a pediatric nurse-practitioner and work in a hospital, so my schedule shifts. On workdays, I walk a long way from the parking lot to the hospital, and then I walk miles in the hospital. When I'm not working, I walk two or three 14-minute miles, three times a week, usually in late afternoon. If I can't get outside, I walk on the treadmill. It's next to French doors, so I can see outside, but I usually watch Food Network or music videos.

Who knew I could do this? My longest walk was the Knoxville half marathon, which is 13 miles. I walked it in 3 hours and 29 minutes. Who knew I could walk that far with fibromyalgia? Was I ever tired afterward! I went home and iced my legs for 30 minutes. But I was so proud of myself and felt a huge sense of accomplishment.

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