Fibromyalgia is a physical condition that causes pain in a person’s muscle tissue and joints. The condition affects between 2 and 4 percen of the population and is seen more often in women than men. Individuals affected by fibromyalgia experience muscle stiffness and pain, headaches and difficulty sleeping.
While there are many mysteries about the causes and treatment of fibromyalgia, exercise is, more and more, becoming one of the most recommended treatment options. Traditionally, light cardiovascular exercise and stretching have been thought to be the best exercise options.
However, there is increasing evidence to show that strength training should be an important part of a fibromyalgia sufferers. Recent research shows that strength training exercises, done correctly, are both safe and beneficial for individuals with fibromyalgia. Strength training increases the muscles strength and makes of daily living easier.
Stronger muscles are more efficient and do not fatigue as quickly as weaker muscles. This means that the pain many fibromyalgia sufferers experiences when they perform regular daily activities could be lessened or eliminated by stronger muscles.
If you have fibromyalgia and would like to incorporate exercise and strength training into your life, by consulting your physician. There may be certain exercises that you should include or avoid because of your particular condition or other health issues.
Next, consult with a fitness professional experienced in rehabilitation exercises and who has worked with clients with fibromyalgia. It is very important that you learn the right exercises and the correct way to perform those exercises before beginning. Improper form or the wrong exercise can cause injury to the muscle or joint and may begin a more severe pain cycle.
When you’re ready to start, begin slowly and increase the intensity, duration and frequency of exercise gradually as your level of health and fitness improves. It is normal to experience some muscle soreness when beginning a new. Remember that while fibromyalgia can be extremely painful, you are not damaging your muscles and joints when you exercise appropriately.
Soreness that is slight to moderate and felt on both sides of the body in the muscle tissue is normal. If the pain is greater than that or if you feel significant or more pain on one side of the body than the other, reduce the amount and intensity of your exercise and re-examine your exercises to make sure they are right for you.
To keep your exercise sessions relatively short and allow for proper muscle recovery, work out your upper body on one day and your lower body on another. Two to three sets of twelve repetitions and about five exercises per day should be your goal.
If you have fibromyalgia, remember that you can still take control of your body and work to keep your level of pain under control. Incorporate regular stretching, cardiovascular, and strengthening exercises into your program and improve the quality of your life beginning today.
Kent Pegg is a certified personal trainer and the owner of the Los Alamos Fitness Center. Direct questions about the information in this column to him at 505.662.5232.