When talking to people living with Fibro, 'exercise' can seem like a bad word sometimes. But it can be critical to maintaining health apart from the Fibro (we can still have heart attacks!) and it can also be a crucial part of getting control of Fibro.
Exercise is important for general health. It is important for maintaining mobility and muscle tone. It can help reduce depression.
A high level of fitness may protect someone against developing Fibro. Exercise may help protect someone with Fibro against getting worse (if you're currently doing regular exercise, don't stop!). Done correctly, it can also help relieve myofascial pain, reduce the incidence of myofascial trigger points, manage hypermobility and manage positional cervical cord compression, all of which are common among people with Fibro.
Exercise is very important in getting control of Fibro, but it has to be in an appropriate way. You can't just go down the gym and start working out and expect it to make you feel better! But there is a level of exercise anyone can do, even if it is just a few minutes of stretches whilst sitting in a chair.
If you're not currently doing any exercise, start by checking with your GP and consultant (if you have one) that it is okay to try exercising. You may have something else going on alongside the Fibro that means certain types of exercise would cause physical damage or other harm.
A referral to physiotherapy is then a good place to start, especially if you are currently not very fit. See this blog article on Physio & Fibro:
It is important that you learn how to exercise in such a way that it doesn't put joints under strain (hypermobility is common among people with Fibro and means extra care is needed) and also to prevent you putting any strain on your neck (especially important in light of research into positional cervical cord compression & Fibro).
It is also important that you get myofascial restrictions identified and dealt with, even if this is just through a programme of stretching and heat applications to do at home. A muscle with active trigger points on it will be painful to use, will get a build-up of lactic acid faster than normal and will not respond properly to strengthening exercises.
It is also important to make sure your sleep quality is being addressed. A lack of restorative sleep is a core symptom of Fibro and it means that you cannot physically recover properly from your day and also that you will struggle to build up muscle mass properly.
Start low and slow. If you are very unfit, this could mean starting with only 5 minutes of stretching in a pool. But gradually work up what you are doing and for how long you are exercising.