Exercise is not only important for healthy people but especially those with fibromyalgia. Exercise improves fitness and improves sleep patterns.
Whatever exercise you decide to do, follow this one important guideline: Do not overdo it! Overdoing exercise can create an exacerbation of your condition.
My name is Dr. Russell Brokstein, and I’ve been helping patients who suffer with Fibromyalgia for the past 13 years with chiropractic and other natural health and preventive measures. My office, Hometown Family Wellness Center, located in Freehold NJ has been helping fibromyalgia sufferers from Freehold, Marlboro, Manalapan, Howell, Colts neck, Morganville, Jackson and many other neighboring Monmouth and Ocean County NJ communities.
Too many people that have fibromyalgia lay around and think inactivity is important, but the total opposite is reality. It is so important to be active and start exercising!
If you are currently not exercising, the best way to start is by walking and stretching. Walk a few blocks the first day. Monitor your body and see how it handles the walk. If you aren’t feeling fatigued from that amount of exercise, increase the number of blocks you walk the next day. Then monitor your body again. How did you do? Tired after the increase? Then you’ll want to reduce the number of blocks you walk the next day. The important thing is to start off lightly and increase gradually.
It’s important to get some type of exercise every day. Some people use the pedometers to count the number of steps they take during the day. Others measure their exercise by how many minutes they walk or cycle. Others measure distance. Whatever method you use, stay true to that method to monitor your progress.
When it comes to stretching, simple stretches, such as the ones that are emphasized in yoga classes are wonderful. They increase flexibility, allow you to learn more about how your body is changing, and increase muscle tone. Your body ends up tighter and leaner.
You can easily find a hatha yoga book if you don’t want to go to yoga classes. Select five stretches, called yoga poses. When you do yoga, you don’t have to meditate or believe in Eastern philosophy.
Cardio exercise is ok, but I don’t want you to overdo it by going into kickboxing classes and other more advanced classes. I certainly don’t want to squash your motivation! Here’s what I find works best: Start changing your diet, add your supplements and get more sleep. When you do this, your body will tell you when it’s ready to exercise. Other than a 10-20 minute walk every day, let your body guide you as to what it wants to do and can do. Not following your intuition on this matter will set you back physically. So play it safe.
If you have been noticing a lot of positive improvements in how you feel, do a bigger workout than what you usually do. Go for it, but only increase by 5 minutes, not 20! It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Massage is fine, but avoid deep tissue work until you’re feeling much better. A massage is a workout but you aren’t the one doing the work! Still, there is a buildup in lactic acid, just as there is when you work out.
What will you do to dissipate this lactic acid quickly? The answer is take a little more vitamin C! Remember that the vitamin C eliminates the muscle fatigue. Also make sure you are properly hydrated by drinking plenty of water. I guide my patients to drink half your body weight in ounces. (So if you weigh 150 pounds, you would drink 75 ounces of water a day) Just remember if you drink any caffeine products, like coffee, you have to increase your water intake. Some research shows just one cup of coffee pulls out up to 4 to 8 glasses of water from the body. You can read further about supplement recommendations on our blog by clicking: Chiropractor in Freehold NJ Shares more Dietary Recommendations for Fibromyalgia Sufferers.
Massage improves blood circulation in the muscles, helps improve range of motion in your joints and increases the production of endorphins, which are the body’s painkillers.
Massage can help you fight the widespread pain and tenderness to light touch you feel with fibromyalgia. Like anything else, too much too soon can cause a setback. One massage a week is plenty.
When you have fibromyalgia, weight training should focus on light weights, only one or two sets of 10 repetitions, and only about 10 exercise equipment machines should be used. You will risk an exacerbation if you do more than that.
Running is similar to walking. Start out with a low distance, monitor your body for extra fatigue, and if you get fatigued, back off the distance. Do not overstress your system. As you become healthier, you will feel like exercising more.
Housework is like exercise too. Some household chores can be too much for a fibromyalgia patient, such as mopping and vacuuming extra large rooms. Delegate these chores until you are healthier.
Ask me any specific questions on exercise at your next appointment.
Many of my patients ask me: Dr. Russell, what do I do if I exercise and feel pain coming on quickly afterwards? You mentioned that vitamin C might help. Is there anything else that I can do?
It’s always good to have a plan! The Vitamin C as mentioned before can be helpful because it will decrease lactic acid accumulation in the muscles. Lactic acid is a waste product that is produced whenever we move our muscles.
The second thing you can do is put heat on the area. This will increase the circulation and help flush out the waste products.
The Fibromyalgia Clinic at Mayo recommends whirlpool therapy with the water temperature at a minimum of 95 degrees.
I hope you find these exercise recommendations helpful in getting you back to feeling normal and active, relieving your fibromyalgia symptoms and living a lifestyle of health and wellness.
If you would like a full Fibromyalgia special consultation, check out our special on our website: www.ChiropractorFreehold.com or give our office a call at 732-780-0044.