by Delanie Vitosh
Delanie is a senior at University of Nebraska at Kearney and is my daughter. She is majoring in Health Sciences with a minor in psychology. For one of her classes, her assignment was to create a health blog for anything she wanted. She chose benefits of exercise for people living with fibromyalgia. She knows all to well what Fibro Warriors live with every day and the struggles we have. Individuals with fibromyalgia feel a lot better mentally and physically after exercising. Here are some of the unexpected benefits of exercise for individuals with fibromyalgia and how they can help you.
You know exercise is good for you, but do you know how good it is? There are many ways that exercise benefits the health of an individual whether it is a walk through your neighborhood or a vigorous workout. Exercise especially improves the health of individuals that have fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is musculoskeletal pain throughout the body. Some symptoms include widespread pain, fatigue, and cognitive difficulties. It affects more than 5 million Americans, with the majority being women. Not only will it benefit you physically, but also mentally. Exercise can also improve the relationships you have with your family, friends, and peers.
Ten ways exercise can improve your life when having fibromyalgia:
1.Improves the quality of sleep
If you do not exercise, your body does not get tired and the muscles do not need to restore. Sleeping allows your brain to restore and recharge to be able to focus and be motivated. Getting the right amount of sleep at night can improve the function of your immune system. Fibromyalgia warriors already experience an autoimmune system disease so exercise helps to build the function of the immune system even more.
When you are stressed out, your body tenses up. For individuals with fibromyalgia, the more your body tenses up from stress the more pain the person experiences. Stress affects your body physically, mentally, and emotionally. Exercise will give you an outlet to let go of some stress. You can let go of your frustration or just forget about the stress for the short amount of time you are exercising. By focusing on exercise, it helps to forget about the pain you are experiencing from fibromyalgia.
Exercise will help you build confidence in yourself as you see the changes. Maybe it is lifting more, running farther, or setting personal goals to achieve. The body releases “feel good” hormones when partaking in exercise. Fibromyalgia warriors lose functioning of everyday activities and exercising helps to regain participation in these activities.
Exercising will allow you to have a greater oxygen intake to better fuel your body’s cells. Exercise makes you feel better so you have more energy and allows you to accomplish more. As you incorporate exercise into your daily routines, you will be more physically and mentally prepared to carry out the act of it everyday.
Exercise helps to improve breathing because it allows you to take deeper breaths taking more air from the lower part of your lungs. When you do not exercise as person who has fibromyalgia, your breaths are shallower and can result in other cardiovascular issues. Exercising strengthens the muscles of your lungs and increases your breathing capacity making the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide more efficient.
6.Reduces body fat
When exercising consistently, your body becomes more fit. When exercising, you burn more body fat. Although you may not be losing weight, exercising will help to decrease body fat while building muscle. It helps to burn the calories you are putting into your body throughout each day. By exercising and reducing fat, you are increasing the speed of your metabolism. A side effect of fibromyalgia is weight gain. By exercising, people of fibromyalgia can reduce their body fat.
Exercise keeps you limber which results in an increase of flexibility. When you start exercising maybe you cannot touch your toes. After a few weeks of exercising, you may be able to put your palms on the floor while standing. Yoga is one of the most beneficial types of exercise to increase flexibility for individuals with fibromyalgia. It helps to make you leaner by strengthening your muscles.
8.Reduces joint pain
If you are not active and do not move a lot, your joints are not moving. If you are not exercising, you gain weight putting more weight and pressure on your joints. When moving and exercising, you lose weight putting less weight and pressure on your joints. Your joints will become less stiff and become more flexible. By exercising, you can improve the range of motion of your joints decreasing joint pain.
Memory is improved with overall health through cognitive functioning. Individuals with fibromyalgia have brain fog and cognitive thinking difficulties. When you are active, your brain is more active. As you experience regular workouts, it is shown to have improved mood and anxiety levels because of decreased levels of stress hormone.
10.Improves immune system function
When you have an autoimmune disease, the immune system plays a big role in keeping your body healthy. If you are exercising, you are healthier. If you are healthy, your immune system is healthy and you get sick less because you can fight off the infections and viruses you are prone to get. The immune system also helps maintain a healthy response to stress.
Overall, as an individual with fibromyalgia, exercise will make you live a happier and healthier life. To achieve maximal benefits, you should perform moderate to vigorous exercise about 150 minutes per week. In these 150 minutes, you should integrate, both, aerobic exercise and strength training. Although it may be hard to find motivation at times, exercise will collectively make you feel better. It will give you more energy and even add years to your life.