My doctor keeps telling me that I have to exercise. How am I supposed to do that when I can hardly get up out of bed!? Every time I do anything strenuous, I end up hurting worse the next day. How can I let my doctor know that I can’t exercise!
- We understand that exercise is difficult for people with fibromyalgia, but research has shown that it is necessary to be physically active or else your pain and fatigue will continue to get worse. Inactivity can also lead to osteoporosis, obesity, depression, coronary heart disease, memory issues, certain types of cancers, gallbladder disease, and so on. The key is to start SLOW and pace yourself. It might also be helpful to think about doing “healing movement” or “pleasant activities”, rather than thinking that you have to take on a daily exercise program.
Here are some tips to get you moving:
- Start with stretching. You can even do easy stretching while still in bed.
- Next slowly start to move. (This is the first step to doing low-impact aerobic activities). Walking two minutes a day and then slowly increase the amount of time that you walk on a daily basis. (First walk from your bedroom to the living room, then to the mailbox, and then to the front of your neighbor’s house. Getting outside can make the walk much more interesting and enjoyable!) Consider starting with walking 2 minutes a day and gradually work up to 30 minutes two or three times a week. Once you’re able to walk a couple blocks, ask a friend or family member to walk with you!
- Warm water therapy. Find a warm water pool in your community and take the plunge! Swimming, water exercise or water dancing aren’t only good for you but a lot of fun!
- Yoga or tai chi are great activities to get you moving. You can also incorporate meditation and deep relaxation as part of your Yoga experience. Join a class and make new friends.
- As you build up your endurance add other enjoyable activities to your weekly routine. Join a walkers or hiking group (many groups are set up for people who want to get outdoors and enjoy nature and the company of other people.) Take your dog for a walk, join a mall walkers’ group, take a guided tour through a historic building where you walk through the building, including taking the stirs!
The main things to remember are to pace yourself, don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day, don’t set unreasonable expectations, count normal activities as part of your “healing movements” (like walking up and down the stairs in your home), and most of all remember by taking the time to start moving, you are giving yourself the gift of improved health!
It does help. I can’t run but I can walk 6-8 miles when I’m regularly doing my stretching, yoga, short daily walks, and pool time.
I have found that the best exercise for me is water exercise. It is low impact and very good for you. It is so hard for me to exercise at all right now because I have 2 bad legs and can’t be in water but when my leg heals to where I can swim again, I will be doing it every day.
I have been dealing with this for years also. I get moving and the pain just gets worse and knocks me back down maybe even further down than I started. I get back up and get knocked back down it’s a vicious cycle but I keep trying. I wish I had more supportive news, but at least you know you are not alone
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My doctors all tell me that too and it’s so frustrating! I either do physical therapy or do my housework.. I can’t do both. The other thing they harp on is how I need to lose weight. I’m so sick of not having them understand how fibro works.
I was dx at Mayo last year. The fatigue gets me more then the pain but I do have pain. Mayo took out the word exercise and put in ACTIVITY. As someone else stated, I can walk, get up to 1-2 miles then I will have an episode and start all over. I pace myself and do activities that I can tolerate then when I feel I am ready to start walking and doing stretching/strengthening I start again. I do work full-time as an OT and work with patients daily but I am having to back off. I am trying to get in tune with my body knowing when I need to back off and it is very hard. I want my life back and right now I am at the point of work or my life. It seems like when I try to do both I have an episode. Don’t give up! We can do this. Lynne is conquering it, we can too! 😊
There is always a friendly reminder to “consult with your physician before starting any exercise” before the beginning of any kind of fitness program that you might see on television.
Dr. Howard Katz