What is the Best Exercise for Fibromyalgia

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Last Updated on March 11, 2024 by melissanreynolds

What is the best exercise for fibromyalgia? This is a huge question and the research is split.

what is the best exercise for fibromyalgia with ball and exercise dumbell on table

Each week I answer questions from members in my group. This question was too good to leave in the group – so here’s my answer as a yoga teacher, person with chronic illness and patient advocate. I’m not a medical professional and you should discuss exercise programmes with your medical team before beginning.

What is the best exercise for fibromyalgia?

When I teach about it, from experience and research, I say choose what movement you like and will do.

I believe yoga has a load of benefits – including gentle strengthening (body weight strength work like planks and lunges are in there). But also a load of side benefits (calming the central nervous system).

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I used to do Pilates and switched to yoga as it was too hard on my neck and body, even modified.

I’ve also heard that strength training is preferred over cardio, especially higher intensity. But I love gentle walking and think it’s a great introduction to movement that we can control and use for free. As long as we keep it within our energy envelope. For example, I am currently doing gentle 20 minute walks when I go.

There is research that suggests strength-based training is good for people with fibromyalgia. Strong muscles are good for everyone, so that’s natural. Start small, get guidance for good form, and don’t overdo it. I am doing five minutes every day at the moment. So, yes, you can start small.

what is the best exercise for fibromyalgia

Questions to ask yourself about exercise for fibromyalgia

1. What is my goal
2. What do I like (and will do)
3. Can I adapt it for my situation (energy and pain)

Let’s dig into number one for a moment. What is YOUR goal. Not a physical therapist who may or may not understand your condition completely. Not random guidelines from big associations that don’t take people with chronic illness into account. YOURS.

I choose yoga because I love the side benefits, enjoy it and will do it. My number one goal is improved quality of life. And yoga gives me that. So please choose your own goal.

If you could leave this post with one message it would be that you can make your movement work for you. If you can do a five minute walk today or a 10 minute seated yoga class or three squats – you can do that. There are no rules for what you have to be able to manage before you can start.

I wrote this post with my five guidelines for starting exercise with fibromyalgia. This will help you with adapting your choice of exercise for your abilities and goals.

I hope this helps.

What is your favourite form of movement?

what  is the best exercise for fibromyalgia

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