There I was again, speaking with a new patient. And once again, her doctors kept pushing her and pushing her to exercise. “Just exercise and you’ll feel better!”
So exercise she would. She’d dutifully put on her sweatpants, and force herself to the gym – or out for a walk. Only to end up in bed, exhausted, for days afterwards.
This is why exercise is often not the best action for those with fibromyalgia – My patients often ask me if they should be exercising. While exercise is a healthy habit, one that has many health benefits, those with fibro should use caution. Stress is the catalyst for fibromyalgia – they’ve bankrupted their stress coping chemicals and glands. There is little to no resistance or stamina to stress, a little goes a long way – and chronic or acute stressors bring on fibro flares.
Exercise is a stress, a good stress, but still a stress. I recommend patients correct their issues with poor sleep first. Restoring deep restorative sleep builds up your stress coping chemicals, allowing you to withstand more stress. Once you begin sleeping through the night, preferably without drugs, no one has a sleep drug deficiency, then start a minimum amount of exercise. I recommend walking 10 minutes a day for one week. Then each week add additional 5 minutes to you daily walk eventually reaching goal of one hour a day.
If you are already exercising to some degree then certainly increasing your walk times on a faster pace is acceptable.
Be careful, go slow, build-up your stamina, don’t over do it, or you’ll flare.
Exercise Increases Longevity: Walking
A 1989 study showed that those who were in 20% fittest group of 13,000 test subjects were 75% less likely to die over the next 8 years than those who were in lowest 20% of this group. The big take away from the study was that those who were just a tad bit fitter than the sedentary subjects enjoyed a 55% lower death rate.
People who jog or walk at a brisk pace for 30 minutes a day reduce their risk of cancer, stroke, heart attack, and death by 55%.
I believe walking 30-60 minutes a day is one of the healthiest things you can do.
This half hour or better hour of power is yours to reconnect with yourself. I don’t recommend listening to loud music, watching TV, certainly not talking on the phone – disconnect and reconnect to your inner self. Pray, meditate or simply contemplate as you walk this is your quiet time, time to think, absorb, and decompress.