Fibromyalgia is no match for Exercise

New research from John Hopkins University has found that fibromyalgia patients who engaged in 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity 5 to 7 days per week were able to:

  1. improve their mobility, while
  2. reducing their levels of perceived pain and disability

And as anyone who suffers with fibro surely knows, that is huge.

  • Never-ending pain throughout your body
  • Lack of sleep
  • Complete and utter exhaustion

That’s what it’s like to live with fibromyalgia.

Not fun.

The Study

Researchers asked the participants to increase their activity levels by increasing the intensity of regular everyday activities such as

  • taking the stairs instead of using an elevator,
  • gardening
  • and walking.

Their goal was to push themselves hard enough to cause heavy breathing, but not hard enough that they couldn’t hold a conversation.

The Results

By the end of the study, the participants had increased their average daily steps by 54%.

More significantly, the exercisers reported “significantly less perceived functional deficits and less pain.”

Speaking about these results, researcher Kevin Fontaine said, “The nature of fibromyalgia’s symptoms, the body pain and fatigue, make it hard for people with this malady to participate in traditional exercise. We’ve shown that LPA can help them to get at least a little more physically active, and that this seems to help improve their symptoms.”

Conclusion

In my experience, working with fibromyalgia patients has been one of my most rewarding experiences as a personal trainer. While it can be frustrating at times to see your client struggling with a new level of pain (that I caused), it is an incredible feeling when the situation starts to improve.

As they get accustomed to the exercise and the pain levels start to drop, the workouts take on a whole different light.

They stop thinking of themselves as fibromyalgia patients and start thinking of themselves as just another athlete suffering through another brutal workout avec moi.

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[box type=”important”]So, if you know anyone with fibromyalgia, pass this post on to them…and encourage them to get active.[/box]

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