Updated: Sep 27
If you are used to being very active and get a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, it can come as a big shock. Things that used to be easy to do become much more difficult, and you will find that your energy level is much less than it used to be.
There are things you will have to get used to when fibromyalgia strikes and you find that you can’t do the things you used to do.
Learning to accept fibromyalgia and its effect on your life can be difficult, but you can do it. You will have to rewrite your life in a sense, but you can certainly find pleasure and satisfaction in new activities better scaled to your condition and symptoms.
Here are some tips for if you find that fibromyalgia symptoms are getting in the way of being active:
1. Focus on what you can do
Acceptance comes easier with awareness, so making a list of all you can do instead of focusing on what you cannot is helpful.
2. Learn how to rest
If you are used to being very active and are suddenly struck down by fibromyalgia, you may still be able to do some of the same activities you used to do but may not be able to do them at the same pace. For example, instead of exercising for thirty minutes straight in your exercise program, you may have to scale back to exercising ten minutes at a time, resting for a while before you go back to exercising. Listen to your level of pain and fatigue as guides to tell you that you need to rest a bit before going back to what you were doing. Discover 4 Ways to Say No When You Need Rest
3. Scale back the exercise
If you are used to running marathons or even a 5k run, you may not be able to do those things right away if you have fibromyalgia pain. You may have to scale back your activity level to include easier exercises on your muscles and joints, like swimming or yoga. These exercises can be done by just about anyone with any pain level and yet doing something active. Join a health club that has a pool and take part in swimming aerobics. This is an easy form of exercise that will not be hard on your joints and will exercise your muscles in a much gentler way. Try to exercise in a pool with relatively warm water in it, as this will be soothing to your pain and make it easier to exercise. Read more about how to use Physical Activity To Ease Fibromyalgia Pain
4. Get plenty of sleep
Even though many people with fibromyalgia complain that sleep is no longer restorative, you should try to get at least seven to nine hours of sleep per night. The sleep will hopefully allow your muscles to rest. When you wake up, do some gentle stretching exercises in bed to avoid the typical morning stiffness of people with fibromyalgia. If you have difficulty getting to sleep, use good sleep hygiene techniques. This means sleeping in a dark and quiet room and going to bed simultaneously every night. If you need some noise, purchase a white noise machine to help lull you to sleep. Don’t drink alcohol or any beverages containing caffeine right before sleep, and don’t eat a big meal before trying to go to sleep. Read more - Get a Better Nights Sleep with Fibromyalgia.
5. Do exercises that relieve stress
Having fibromyalgia may spur you to find ways of exercising that will not exacerbate your pain but improve your stress level. Think about, for example, taking a yoga class. Yoga will teach you various poses, also called “asanas,” that you will practice along with breathing exercises that will focus your mind and improve your balance. If you choose a more gentle form of yoga, such as Hatha yoga, the poses will not be difficult, and you will feel as though you have done some decent exercise. You can keep on taking the yoga class or bring the yoga home to do in your living room. Other gentle forms of exercise on joints/muscles and relieve your stress include tai chi and qi gong. There may be classes for these types of exercises in your community, or you can find videos online and learn the exercises at home. Learn more about Restorative Yoga For Fibromyalgia Pain
Read next - Restorative Yoga For Fibromyalgia Pain.