I belong to a Facebook group called the Fibro Blogger Directory and we’ve been challenged to send in and answer questions relating to Fibromyalgia in the month of November. One of the members asked this question:
Can you please help explain how I can get started with exercising – I want to but can’t get up off the lounge most days and can’t even do all my housework.
From Fleur in Pasadena
Let’s start by talking about something called “Fear of Pain”
If you’ve ever attended a Pain Management course, one of the first things they talk about is the mechanism of Pain – and the fear that comes with having pain. We’re afraid that pain is our body telling us that something is wrong and more pain means more is wrong. That’s not always the case though and the trick is determining what is “bad” pain and what is “good” pain. Exercise is generally considered to be “good” pain because it’s not causing further harm to your body. Your mind needs to be convinced that what you are feeling isn’t more harm, but simply a response to the muscles and tendons being used in a way that you’re not used to. No actual damage is being done, so while you may need to start slow, exercise is encouraged when you have Fibromyalgia. In fact, the worse thing you can do is to remain sedentary as that causes your muscles to atrophy.
There are simple moves you can do to get started on an exercise program at home that will be easy on your joints yet still give you a workout. As always, make sure you get your Doctor’s approval first.
Start with simple Stretches:
Move on to Squats, Wall Push Ups and Bicep Curls (with or without light weights)
Finish off with walking, swimming, Aquafit, or Bicycling. Even walking one block a day is a good start – add an extra block as you grown stronger, or an extra lap in the pool. The goal is to move just a little bit each day (i.e.: do 1 squat a day for a week then try 2 the next week).
Nordic Pole walking is extremely popular and works your upper and lower body while giving you stability while you walk:
The added benefit is the more you do, the more you’re capable of at home. Doing the dishes, sweeping the floor, folding laundry – they all count as movement and exercise as well. I’m not saying you need to run a marathon or do everything at once, but start slow, and realize that yes, you might feel a bit more pain in the beginning, but it’s simply your body getting used to something it hasn’t experienced for awhile. Give it time to adjust and you’ll see a difference before you know it. It takes 21 days to make a habit so give yourself 3 weeks before you “give up”. I’m willing to bet that if you’re honest with yourself and you don’t cheat, you’ll notice a positive change at the end.
There is always hope.