Fibromyalgia and Exercise

Fibromyalgia and Exercise

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  • 9 Answers
    People with fibromyalgia can exercise, and they should. Research shows that regular exercise can reduce symptoms of fibromyalgia -- including pain, sleep problems and fatigue -- improve muscle strength and flexibility, lessen stress and anxiety and prevent weight gain and improve overall health.

    Some studies show that working out in a swimming pool (taking a water aerobics class, say) is a good activity for many people with fibromyalgia because it's easy on joints. Stretching, walking, yoga and tai chi are other good exercises for people with fibromyalgia. Eventually many people with fibromyalgia can add more strenuous activities, such as jogging or running, bicycling and aerobics classes to their exercise routines.

    If you have fibromyalgia and want to exercise, start out slowly, set small goals for yourself and gradually increase how much you work out. If there are specific activities you'd like to try, ask your doctor how to do them safely.
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  • 2 Answers
    Recent studies have shown that regular exercise is one of the most effective treatments for fibromyalgia. Physical activity can improve many fibromyalgia symptoms, including pain, fatigue, sleeplessness, and tenderness.

    While physical activity may be powerful medicine for fibromyalgia, the main symptoms of this condition -- fatigue and chronic pain -- can sometimes make it difficult to get up off the sofa and exercise. Keep in mind that even small lifestyle changes, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, can improve your symptoms.
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  • 1 Answer
    A answered
    Lifting light weights or doing other types of resistance-based strength training might improve a patient's fibromyalgia symptoms. Fewer fibromyalgia studies have been done on strength training than on other exercise forms, but resistance training shows equal promise in its ability to relieve fibro pain and fatigue, improve sleep, reduce the number of tender points and dampen depression in people with fibromyalgia. Strength training may also prevent weakening and loss of muscle mass.
  • 3 Answers
    There is currently no official fibromyalgia certification for personal trainers, but the Arthritis Foundation offers a self-help program that educates personal trainers about the types of muscle issues affecting people with fibromyalgia. Some certified personal trainers may have completed coursework or training that gives them a more comprehensive knowledge of the issues facing people with fibromyalgia. Be sure to tell any personal trainer with whom you're considering working that you have fibromyalgia, and ask about his or her knowledge of, and experience with, clients who have the condition. And always make sure the trainer is certified by a reputable organization such as the American Council on Exercise, the National Academy of Sports Medicine, the International Sports Sciences Association, or others.
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  • 1 Answer
    A , Health Education, answered

    Having a personal trainer who understands your exercise needs and physical limitations can be a wonderful motivation to keep moving. A study published in the British Medical Journal concluded that people with fibromyalgia who worked with a personal trainer twice a week for twelve weeks were twice as likely to report feeling “much better” than those people who didn’t participate.

    However, award-winning personal trainer Bill Sonnemaker, MS, warns, “Over 95 percent of people practicing as personal trainers should not be doing so because they are not certified by an accredited and medically recognized organization.” Like any other profession, personal fitness training attracts its share of losers. In fact, trainers’ missing credentials are often ignored, especially if they look like bodybuilding rock stars.

    Ask the following questions when you interview potential personal trainers and before you sign a contract. Make sure you get someone who will help—not hurt—you.

    1- Are you certified by an accredited organization? If so, which one?

    2- How long have you been a personal trainer?

    3- What experience and education do you have for working with people with fibromyalgia or chronic pain?

    4- When is the last time you completed a continuing education course? Did you take this course online or with a live instructor?

    5- How do you plan to personalize my training program?

    6- How will you help me to meet my fitness goals?

    7- What is your follow-up strategy?

    8- Do you have professional liability insurance?

    9-What are your hourly rates? Do you have any discounts or other offers? Can I try a sample session for free?

    10- Could you please give me the names and contact details for three of your clients that I can check with?

    11- How do you plan to stay in communication with my doctor? How often?

  • 7 Answers
    There is no single form of exercise that's right for everyone who has fibromyalgia. What matters is that you develop an exercise plan that you enjoy and that you'll stick with for the long haul. Regular physical activity can help to manage your fibromyalgia symptoms. Some forms of exercise that may work for you include walking, jogging, bicycling, and swimming. Whatever you choose, start slowly and gradually build up your duration and intensity.
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  • 1 Answer
    A , Neurology, answered
    Here are some tips for making exercise a success if you have fibromyalgia:
    • Start low and go slow. Choose an exercise you think you will enjoy and start at a level that's comfortable for you. Exercise at this level for at least 1 week before trying to increase your exercise duration or intensity. Alternate increasing duration and intensity -- don't increase both together -- and then stay with one level without increasing the other until you've been comfortable during exercise for at least 1 week.
    • Choose an appropriate intensity level. You should be able to chat with someone when you're exercising, but not sing. If you can sing, you're not working hard enough. If you can't talk comfortably, slow down.
    • Don't forget to stretch before and after aerobic exercise. In general, stretching exercises are less helpful for people with fibromyalgia than for people with other types of chronic pain. But don't completely forego stretching; it's essential to help your muscles get warm, flexible, and ready for exercise -- and to cool down after exercise. Stretching also helps reduce your risk for injury and pain flares.
    • Plan your exercise for the time of day when your fatigue is usually the least. If you typically take a short nap in the afternoon, try exercising after your nap, when you feel rested.
    • Make exercise part of your daily routine. Don't decide on a day-by-day basis if you should exercise that day -- make it a must-do, as with brushing your teeth or styling your hair. If you're having a particularly bad day, cut back on exercise rather than cutting it out. Once you start missing here and there, it's easy to stop exercising altogether. Scheduling daily walks or doing your exercise in front of your favorite daily television shows can encourage you to find time for exercise.
    • Find a reliable exercise buddy. Having an exercise partner is one of the most powerful motivators for sticking with an exercise program. Select someone whose physical abilities are similar to yours, so you don't go too fast or too slow. A great walking buddy -- and one who never accepts an excuse for skipping a day of exercise -- might be your dog!
    • Measure your exercise duration in minutes, not distance. Measuring time is easier.
    • Get a new pair of exercise shoes at least every 6 months. Exercising in old shoes can increase pain and the risk for injury.
    • If you have problems with stiff joints, try exercising in a warm swimming pool rather than an air-conditioned gym.
  • 4 Answers
    A personal trainer should be willing to work with your doctor in a collaborative exercise program strategy. In working with clients with fibromyalgia, exercise programs will most likely need to be modified.

    Fibromyalgia clients typically have a low pain tolerance and be affected by exercises more than the Personal Trainer’s other clients. However, increasing the range of motion in muscles and joints may help alleviate pain.
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  • 3 Answers
    There is nothing wrong with seeking advice from someone who can help you through your fibromyalgia. Some people have certain medical conditions or limitations and those don't have to stop you from working out. Having a personal trainer understand your condition and know how to work through it will be a big help. Education is always the first step at understanding what you need to do. The second step is learning how to act on it and having a personal trainer to guide you will be a big help.
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