Fibromyalgia and Excercise

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by marlew2000, Sep 2, 2005.

  1. marlew2000

    marlew2000 New Member

    I'm new to trying to understand fibromyalgia. How important is excercise in controlling its effect on your life AND are you limited as to types of excercise and duration by fibromyalgia?
  2. 123sandra

    123sandra New Member

    Exercise. If you can do it then have a go, if you can't then don't!! I did it and did everything they asked me to do like a good little girl. I think I was still in denial and didn't like the 'new' limitations I had, ( Was always fit ) unfortunately it didn't do me any good! I had to accept that I could no longer do 'everyday' things and ask for help if I needed it. Once you do that you will know what you are capable of and don't push yourself or you will pay later, I found that out myself.
    Good luck.
    LOL
    Sandra
  3. tngirl

    tngirl New Member

    I can only speak for myself but I think exercising is important.

    Having said that, it can be overdone, and then I pay for it!
    It has been hard for me to learn what is best for me.

    I like water exercise and walking the best. Sometimes I do a Walkaway the pounds video. I have to modify the arm movements, because of pain in my shoulders.

    I also do stretching and strengthening exercises.

    I started out slowly. I now aim for 45 minutes. Sometimes my body allows me to do it all at once, and sometimes I break it up into smaller segments and repeat it during the day.
  4. cjcookie

    cjcookie New Member

    to me about how important exercise is. He also said he understood how hard it was for us. He told me to try to work up to walking a half hour each day. Even if it took weeks or months - anything would help.

    I had worked up to 30 leg lifts a day and that helped tremendously. Then, I got really sick with an upper respiratory infection and ear infection and now am back to square one. Having such trouble with my hip and leg that I can only do about three now.
  5. snooker11

    snooker11 New Member

    it has been extrememly important for me and almost everyone i know who has fibro and feels better. I swim and do yoga - those are the best activities for me. Find an excercise that you love and are able to do. Excercise helps with pain because it produces endorphins which counter the pain. I feel the difference when I skip a swimming session. I swim every other day because it is part of my "medicine" for the pain. it also keeps me strong and fit. I used to walk all the time but since I am limited in that (I still can walk but not the marathon distances I used to) I do what I can now.
  6. stormieblonde

    stormieblonde Member

    Hi there!
    I've been a personal trainer for 3 years now and have suffered with FMS for the majority of my life. I grew up lazy and ate junk all the time so when my doctor told me I had to exercise and eat right to minimize the pain I was feeling every day, you can imagine my confusion!
    Exercise is sooooooo important when it comes to managing FMS. Since I began exercising and eating right, I have noticed far less fibro-flare ups. Drugs and medication can only temporarily mask the pain, a healthy lifestyle helps with the long term.
    I just finished writing an article about this subject, as well as a correpsonding article about the effects of your diet on fibromyalgia. These articles are published on my website, [url removed as per rules]
    along with a lot of other information that has helped me and others living with FMS.
    Please feel free to view my site, I hope it helps!
  7. Anita B.

    Anita B. New Member

    Hello there, Marlew!
    I don't think one can make any generalizations about the benefits of exercise for people with FM. Some people benefit from it; some are worsened by it. As for me, I have always exercised up to my limits, which I hit much more quickly than a person without FM; much more quickly than I did before I had FM, for that matter. I have only 5% of the endurance that I had before my sudden onset of FM, and maybe 30% of the strength that I had before FM. Even after getting FM, there was a time when I could do some aerobic exercise (e.g. swimming, dancing). During those years I swam or danced three or four times a week. Now I can no longer swim or dance. My muscles give out in about three minutes, and I get ferociously sore from swimming or dancing within half an hour after finishing, as well as all the next day. People who have normal muscles say to me: "When I do a new exercise, I'm sore afterwards. When I do the exercise a second time a couple of days later, I'm still sore, but less so. When I do the exercise a third time a couple of days after that, I'm not sore any more. Then I can increase the length or intensity of the workout." Well, unfortunately, it doesn't work that way for many people with FM; at least not for me. I have been exercising regularly with FM since coming down with it when I was still in school. That was more than two decades ago during which time I have never given up trying to exercise. Yet, I fail to get any stronger from exercise. You could say I went down dancing. During my first 9 years with FM I very slowly improved until I reached the point where I could dance. At that point, I was able to dance for about four years, several times a week. After the four years, the FM got worse. I kept trying to dance; however, I had to sit out more and more dances. I pushed myself; I danced as much as I could. But there came a point when I could no longer dance. Years have passed since I gave up dancing, and I still cannot dance more than three minutes, and when I do dance for those three minutes, I pay a very heavy price in terms of soreness, muscle and connective tissue pain, and muscle fatigue. I never lost my coordination or my balance; in fact, my coordination remains excellent. But I don't have the necessary endurance to do these things, and the more I tried, the less I could do. Aerobic exercise had became counterproductive for me. (I do not include walking in this; I still walk every day if I can; more and faster on good days, less and slower on bad days.)
    When I could no longer dance or swim I joined a small group class at a local studio. The class was called "The Fundamentals of Movement" here in NYC and the teacher incorporated moves from the Laban Institute as well as gentle yoga. Everything was done very slowly and much of what we did involved stationery postures. The teacher modified for me those exercises that I could not do. Even this class made me very sore afterwards and the next day. But, at least I could do this class. I would be doing it still if the teacher didn't give up teaching it. About five years ago, I started working with a certified personal trainer who had several certifications including Pilates and C.M.T. (certified movement therapist). The class was once a week and I liked it; however, the teacher was getting frustrated with me because my stamina was so low and because I wasn't getting any stronger, the way a normal person would. I think that part of the problem was that she was taking it personally that I was not improving from her teaching. Finally, she suggested that I work with a junior teacher instead of her. A teacher she had trained. I worked with the new teacher, who was a certified Pilates instructor, once a week for two years. She was very nice and didn't take it personally that I wasn't improving. However, she didn't have the depth of experience of the first teacher, her trainer, although she continued to take classes herself and, by the time I was through with her, she was a senior teacher. Unfortunately, it was getting to the point where even one week was not sufficient for me to recover from my private classes with this teacher. For six months I reduced the frequency of my classes to once every other week to allow me to recover from the classes. In between, I exercised on my own (mainly stretching, walking, gentle yoga, some repetitive exercises using one pound weights.)
    Six months ago, the second teacher left the studio and handed me off to a third teacher. This new teacher is a certified personal trainer, a certified Pilates instructor, and is in school in a slow program to become a physical therapist. She says that some years back she had chronic fatigue syndrome for three years, although she did not have a bad case of it and recovered. That gives her some understanding of how to work with a person with FM. I found her to be so good, I have been seeing her twice a week! I get very sore from her classes, but I am managing. When I come in and I am having a bad day, we do less exercise and more stretching. When I come in and I'm having a good day, we do exercise and stretching. Everything is done slowly, at the pace I can take. None of the exercise is aerobic, since, other than walking, I'm unable to do aerobic exercise. So far I have not gotten any stronger from the latest teacher's classes, but I am hopeful that, over time, I will. She really seems to care about me and she is very varied in what she has me doing in each session. She is working on posture, strengthing all muscle groups, identifying and rectifying muscle imbalances. The first private teacher did this as well, but my current teacher does it with more sensitivity to me, my physical condition, and my abilities. One of the lessons I learned from my experience is that the teacher makes a lot of difference. I am sticking with this teacher, even though, unfortunately, she has just raised her rate. I guess I want to say that I find exercise worthwhile, but it definitely isn't curing the FM and I have to be very careful with it or it can make me worse. I can understand why some people with FM may not want to exercise because it increases the soreness. When my teacher goes on vacation, if I take a break from exercise, I tend to have less pain. I wish there would come a time when exercising would not cause pain and extreme soreness, but I have been exercising for so many years hoping to reach that point and it has not arrived yet.
  8. MusicTeacher

    MusicTeacher New Member

    I do my best to exercise regularly - I swim and walk and, when I can, do a little light work in the garden and, of course, try to keep the house clean (LOL).

    Sometimes it seems to help - a lot of the time it seems to make everything seem worse. I am being cared for by a medical team who are absolutely convinced I must exercise more and more to get on top of this DD.

    So, I do my best but I have to say, overall, I don't find all the effort brings any tangible rewards to lowering my pain levels and just makes me even more tired.

    However, I shall not give up because I believe (however simple) we should all take some exercise.

    Take care
    Music Teacher (UK)
  9. Lurlasgirl

    Lurlasgirl New Member

    exercise is VERY important to controlling the effect of FM on your life ... and yes - types of exercise are limited for many, myself included.

    When I first became convinced that exercise might help me, I could only walk about 5 minutes a day. But I did that - and as I could I added more minutes to that. The more days I walked, the easier it was for me to add minutes - Now, I can walk (outside) 40 to 45 minutes with no problem, have a dance workout video I can do, swim for 30 minutes or so, or can walk on my treadmill for about 20 minutes at a time.

    The more I move - the better I feel. Some days I can't move as much or as vigorously, so I cut back to what I CAN do. But I think it's important to move SOME every day.

    One person mentioned not getting stronger, regardless of the exercise - but I think it's more basic than that. We don't need to exercise to increase our strength as much as to be able to retain the ability to move. If we stop moving, it becomes increasingly harder and more painful when we do.

    It is true that we may less able to do things that we used to do - but I really feel - and my doctor has encouraged me - that we still need to do SOMEthing.


    [This Message was Edited on 09/02/2005]
  10. Jeanne-in-Canada

    Jeanne-in-Canada New Member

    There have been a number of studies comparing people w/ FM to people w/ actually clinical depression. And they are finding much proof that what we have is definitely not caused by depression, YEAH.

    It's been known for some time that part of our chronic pain is due to endorphin depletion and then there is the old substance P elevations, w/ Sub. P = pain. So we not only have more pain chemical, but we exhaust our endorphin supply completely. This is one of the ways that studies are proving our symptoms aren't about depression, because FMers don't respond to exercise w/ increased endorphins as a depressed person would.

    In case that wasn't clear, we have substance P in our bodies about triple that of a normal, then we dont get the normal endorphin relief that someone else would get from exercise. Depressed people tend to respond rather well to exercise, for us, if we aren't super careful, it can backfire.

    I still believe exercise at whatever level you can do it is beneficial. And the level is totally individual as we have such different degrees of the illness.



    Jeanne