Exercise Tips for Fibromyalgia

An Exercise Plan to Manage Fibromyalgia

Exercise is probably the last thing on your mind when it comes to treating fibromyalgia-related pain and other symptoms.

But instead of exercise being your enemy, it can actually be your best friend—exercise can get you through fibromyalgia flare-ups and help you live well with your chronic pain condition.

In-depth Articles on Other Fibromyalgia Treatments

The benefits of exercising with fibromyalgia are plenty. Exercise:

  • boosts your energy
  • decreases muscle tension and stiffness
  • helps you maintain a healthy weight
  • improves your mood and overall sense of well-being
  • promotes deep, restorative sleep
  • strengthens your muscles
  • supports a healthy immune system

Beginning an Exercise Program for Fibromyalgia
A regular, low-intensity exercise program is one of the most effective fibromyalgia treatments.

But before you even begin to think about exercising with fibromyalgia, talk to your doctor, physical therapist, or certified personal trainer. He or she can create an exercise plan just for you—and one that you'll stick with.

Also, it's essential to start slow with your exercise plan—you can gradually increase your activities, but don't rush into physical activity. This is especially important if you haven't been physically active in a long time or if you've never exercised before.

You should also know that you may experience a minor increase in pain and/or soreness when you start your exercise program for fibromyalgia, but that's normal. The exercise-related pain should go away within a few days.

Over time, you'll notice the benefits of exercise on your physical and mental health. In fact, the mental benefits may be significant. Exercise boosts your endorphin levels—feel-good hormones produced in your brain—which can help reduce your pain in addition to any anxiety and/or depression.

Exercises to Do for Fibromyalgia
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that every week, adults aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (eg, walking and swimming) and 2 or more days a week of muscle-strengthening exercises (eg, light weight lifting and push-ups).1 It's also important to work in flexibility exercises, such as gentle yoga, Pilates, and stretching.

The CDC's exercise recommendation can be a goal for you, but the most important thing you can do is listen to your body. If you can't exercise 150 minutes in a week, that's fine.

Incorporating a mix of aerobic, strengthening, and flexibility exercises ensures you have a well-rounded exercise program to help manage your fibromyalgia.

Exercise to Help You Thrive with Fibromyalgia
Remember, you don't have to spend hours in the gym to see results. But the more you get into the rhythm of exercising with fibromyalgia, the better you'll feel.

Your doctor may recommend other fibromyalgia treatments in addition to exercise, but there's no treatment quite like regular exercise—and exercise has very few side effects. Talk to your doctor today about making exercise a part of your fibromyalgia treatment plan.

Updated on: 11/18/15