When we’re in pain, it seems counterintuitive to go out and exercise. However, Badasses with fibromyalgia know that exercise is medicine, helping to improve strength and endurance and even reduce symptoms.
Rheumatologist Ronenn Roubenoff recommends that fibromyalgia patients wait to begin an exercise program until they are at their normal baseline (rather than in a flare) and that they begin with range-of-motion exercises and low-impact activities.
Researchers have examined the effects of a variety of types of exercise on symptoms and performance metrics in fibromyalgia patients. As it turns out, it’s not so much the type of exercise that matters, as improvement was seen with aerobic, aquatic, and strength exercises. Experts recommend “starting low and going slow,” and decreasing intensity and duration of exercise if significant post-exertional fatigue or pain is present. The article linked above discusses recommendations for strength training, specifically a 10% increase in resistance every two weeks, if health allows.
Finally, the National Fibromyalgia Association has real-talk advice for “Starting an Exercise Program with Fibromyalgia.” Recommendations include such Badass staples as listening to your body, defining your own pace, and tracking your progress. The University of Florida also publishes guidelines worth bearing in mind.
If you are a fibromyalgia Badass, we’d love to learn what works for you! Please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org with your fitness tips and fibro hacks.
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