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Practical Tips for Living Well with Fibro

Facing Exercise with Fibromyalgia

Facing Exercise with Fibromyalgia

Just the idea of exercise can trigger your body to react negatively when you have fibromyalgia.  It could be due to the anxiety of not knowing how much is too much or the embarrassment of knowing you’ll do so little, but it still can be too much.

Even if you are comfortable with exercising, when you have fibromyalgia, the limit can change at any moment and down you go.

Here’s an excerpt from a blog post I found on Searching for happiness about this very circumstance;

Anything you canSeveral people wonder what it feels like to have fibromyalgia, or what limitations I might have.  From past experience, I am well aware of just how carefully I have to be when I work out.  If I push myself to much (which isn’t much at all), I will end up on bed rest for days and in a good amount of pain.

My plan was to go on the treadmill for 20 minutes.  That would be my entire workout for my first day back.  I know it sounds ridiculous, but it takes very little to trigger the stiffness and the pain that feels like bruises and electrical shocks.  Call me overly cautious, but I do get nervous when I am working out.

This morning I woke up with a horribly painful stiff neck and what felt like sparks of pain in different parts of my body.  I feel much worse than before I worked out.  I remember when I used to work out and look forward to a little pain the next day.  It was a good indication that I had a good workout.  Working out with fibromyalgia is much different.  I dread the pain, especially because I know how ridiculously light my workout was.

The important part of this story is that yes, having fibromyalgia can feel limiting.  I am nowhere near able to perform the way I once was athletically.  Even so, I am determined to continue to learn about how far I can push my body.  It’s important for me to stay moving. A sedentary lifestyle actually makes the pain worse.  My muscles stiffen up, the pain intensifies, my joints will crack and I end up moving around like a little old lady.

So it will take me 3 times as long to get to a point working out that most can accomplish before the end of their first workout session.  Thankfully I am not feeling particularly competitive.  I just know that the more I continue to move, the easier it will become.  My biggest mistake was to slow down once the cold weather hits.  This has caused me to have to start over from square one when the pain is at its worst.

I have had periods where I exercised a lot. I’ve even run 21-mile races with fibromyalgia, but it’s easy for me to overdo it and then find myself where I am today.  I’m struggling getting myself back to a solid foundation after a big down turn.  In my case, I feel like exercising, but crash very quickly.  My legs, hips and feet aren’t playing ball with me.

I know I’ll get passed this.  I’ve done it several times, but it’s tough and discouraging in the meantime.  But what I like about her story is her attitude toward her circumstance.  It’s not a race, not even with yourself, just finding ways to move is a good move.

How do you deal with exercise?  Share your experience and insights in the comments below and help others to Live Well with Fibro.

To read her full story about going to the gym, click here to visit Searching for happiness.

Image Source: Kate Ter Haar

Featured Image Source:  Steven Depolo


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