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Fibromyalgia and Physical Activity

fibromyalgia lifestyle

Do people with fibromyalgia (FM) lead a different lifestyle from those without?

Based on studies, it has been revealed that those who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia aren’t as physically active as those without, because they would rather have a sedentary behavior since the pain brought by physical activities is unbearable for them. This has been supported by a study made wherein 413 female patients with FM and 188 age-matched healthy females were involved. Different methods were used to assess the physical activities of the control group. This includes the triaxial accelerometer in order to monitor the sedentary time, step counts, and time spent doing physical activities.

It has been found that those who are suffering from FM spent an average of 39 more minutes of the day doing nothing, and 21 fewer minutes per day doing light physical activities. Also, 19 fewer minutes per day are spent for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, while 17 fewer minutes per day in moderate physical activity. Also, those with FM took a mean of 1881 fewer steps than those who are healthy.

These findings aren’t really surprising at all; considering the fact that those with FM are in constant pain, have difficulties in sleeping, and incapable of doing physical activities for longer periods of time. After studying the sufferers to non-sufferers, they have discovered that only 21% of FM patients vs 46% of non-FM controls managed to attain the recommended 150 minutes/week of exercise– moderate-to-vigorous physical activities. Aside from that, they have also discovered that only 16% of FM suffered were able to walk the recommended 10,000 steps per day, while 45% of non-FMs did.

Is Exercise Really Important for FM Sufferers?

Back in the days, doctors assumed that exercise would only worsen the symptoms brought by fibromyalgia, or accelerate the disease. Thus, they encourage patients to rest and refrain from doing strenuous activities. However, recent studies suggest that it’s quite the opposite and those with FM should condition their body in doing physical activities as this would improve their range of motion and strengthen their muscles.

Furthermore, a lot of experts would agree that exercise is very important to lead a healthy lifestyle; it keeps the muscles strong and flexible, prevents weight gain, and a great way to stay active in other aspects of one’s life. To support that, FM patients who were willing to stay active, have noted that the amount of pain they usually feel because of fibromyalgia lessened.

The Best Form of Exercise for Those with Fibromyalgia

Walking is the best form of exercise, not only for those with FM but for everyone in general. That’s why a walking program should always be a part of everyone’s daily routine. Also, it’s important to note that walking should be gradually introduced to FM patients to ensure that they won’t be injuring or spraining their muscles or joints. Likewise, gradual introduction to any physical activity is important, because FM sufferers have already experienced a lot of pain, and this is what restricts them from trying new things. However, if done correctly, they would be more open to the idea of being active and trying other forms of exercise. .

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