It may be raining the day I’m writing this, but there’s no doubt that summer is here. After a long cold winter, warm sunny days are finally arriving. Here in the UK that’s not something you can take for granted so it pays to make the most of them.
For fibromyalgia sufferers the warmer weather can ease symptoms such as muscle pain. Many doctors recommend exercise as a way to alleviate symptoms, so as long as you aren’t too ambitious, brighter, dryer days are perfect for getting yourself out of the house and doing your body some good.
That said some of these exercises can be done indoors, so if it does start to rain you still have options.
Remember, whatever you do you, should always be careful not to overdo it. It’s good to push yourself a little bit but doing too much can be detrimental.
With that in mind, here are our top 5 suggestions for exercises – two that are for the great outdoors and three that are done indoors.
- WalkingThe road to a life with reduced pain is long and should be taken step by step – literally. Get yourself some comfy shoes and get walking. The May Clinic in the US puts walking at the top of the list as the most effective form of exercise for fibromyalgia sufferers. It’s not too strenuous, so doesn’t put too much strain on your muscles and it’s a great way of getting oxygen into those limbs to decrease pain and stiffness.
- CyclingWe’ve recommended cycling before and for good reason. It’s a fantastic way of getting those muscles working and moving oxygen around the body. Core stability can be an issue for some fibromyalgia sufferers so, as long as you are comfortable on a bike, the fact that you are sitting on a saddle will make things easier than free running. Make sure you get the right bike and buy a helmet, and you can enjoy the wind in your hair on a sunny day, while generating energy boosting endorphins and helping to ease those pains away.
- SwimmingSwimming is a great example of an all-over exercise that’s great for your health. We’ve listed it as indoors, as most UK pools are covered, or if you have a pool in your garden, then of course it’s an outdoor activity too. Swimming is low impact so won’t put too much strain on your body and it will benefit your whole body. Try and seek out a warm pool. Research published in Arthritis Research & Therapy showed that women who exercised in a heated pool three times a week did better than fibro sufferers that did not. You might not be able to manage that many times a week, but whatever you can do in a warm pool should help.
- StretchingIt’s not just about getting the heart rate up and working up a sweat. Gently stretching out those muscles will help reduce pain and improve posture, which will reduce strain on your body when you’re out and about. Make sure you stretch at the right time – after all of the above exercises would be ideal. Do it gently, but as ever, don’t overdo it – you are looking to reduce pain, not cause it. Hold your stretches for 30 seconds to a minute to get the benefit. You might even want to try out a Yoga or Pilates class if you’re up to it.
- YogaYoga is considered by some to be an alternative therapy but some Fibro patients swear by it for helping to relieve pain. Fibromyalgia often manifests itself in the upper back, shoulders and next, all areas that Yoga can target. For example, backbends can focus energy into the spine, while head rotations can relieve the neck. The ‘Eagle pose’ meanwhile is ideal for the shoulders. This focus on stretching and strengthening muscles in a gentle, controlled manner is exactly what a fibromyalgia suffer needs. However, with meditation and breathing as much a part of the treatment as the physical exercises, Yoga offers a holistic approach to healing.
Have you tried any exercise that has improved your quality of life? Do you have any tips to share with us? We would love to hear your comments below.