What can I do to get energy?
Fibromyalgia, which means “pain of the muscles and other fibrous tissue” is a chronic disorder that affects the muscles, ligaments and tendons of the body. Many people describe the condition as feeling like they have the flu. The chronic aches and pains of fibromyalgia can leave you feeling exhausted at the end of the day, especially if you are also having difficulty sleeping at night.
There are several ways to increase your energy level, even with fibromyalgia. Getting proper rest is essential, as is reducing stress and increasing your activity level. Exercise is the perfect prescription for all of those things.
It used to be believed that exercise may exacerbate the symptoms of fibromyalgia, but recent studies have shown that regular bouts of physical activity can lessen the effects of the disease and help people manage their pain. Experts now believe that the best activities for patients with fibromyalgia are low impact aerobic exercises such as: swimming, biking, and walking; strength training and a comprehensive stretching program. You may find that walking to the mailbox or the end of your block is enough for the first day. However, building your personal endurance each day will allow you to gain more endurance each and every day. Start with 5 minutes a day and increase gradually each week until you have reached 45-60 minutes at a time. Muscle soreness is an inevitable part of any new activity, but if your soreness continues or you experience sharp pains, you may have a muscle injury and need to rest.
In addition to cardiovascular activity, it is important to maintain flexibility and strength. Proper warm up is critical for the person with fibromyalgia; warming up with range of motion exercises and gentle stretching will help prepare your body for the chosen activity. Begin by walking for 5 minutes to get the blood flowing and prepare your body for gentle stretching exercises.
Strength training is also very important and is essential in building muscle strength as well as endurance, two key components to increasing your energy level through the day. It is important that you seek the advice of a professional when putting together a strength training program. A licensed physical therapist or certified personal trainer with expertise in chronic pain is a good place to start.
As with any exercise program, it is important to first check with your physician and then start slowly and increase gradually. Maintaining an active lifestyle is key to managing the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.
- American Academy of Family Physicians
- Fibromyalgia Network