With ‘lock down’ still in place, I understand that we can’t all go to the gym right now and it may be difficult to workout. Exercise, however, is still important for your overall health and so are low impact exercises for fibromyalgia. It can have a positive effect on stress levels, anxiety, depression, sleep quality, mood and your overall well-being. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America “exercise is considered vital for maintaining mental fitness and can reduce stress.”
Studies show that exercise is amazingly effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate. When stress affects the brain, with its many nerve connections, the rest of the body feels the impact as well. Or, if your body feels better, so does your mind.
What exercise can do for you
Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins (chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers) and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. About five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects.
A 2017 review in the Cochrane library concluded that aerobic exercise can improve quality of life, physical function, stiffness, pain intensity, and may improve muscle function. Studies show that regular moderate exercise boosts your immune system and may even lessen your chances of getting a cold. A study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that women who walked for a half-hour every day for 1 year had half the number of colds as those who did not exercise.
I understand that, with COVID-19, it may be a lot more difficult to exercise now and impossible to get to a gym when in lock down, but it is also more important than ever to take care of your body, and regular exercise is one of the best ways to accomplish that. Don’t worry, you do not need to be an athlete or run a marathon to benefit from exercise, all you need is about 20 to 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day. Just be sure that you have clearance from your doctor prior to exercise if you have a history of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension or you are over 65 years of age.
There are also some wonderful health benefits to stretching, meditation and deep breathing. For reducing stress and to help you relax, the American Institute of Stress recommends breathing as a “super stress buster” that works for everyone even children, the key is focused breathing. Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness. The relaxation response is a mentally active process that leaves the body relaxed, calm, and focused. AIS suggests abdominal breathing for 20 to 30 minutes each day to reduce anxiety and stress.
What is aerobic exercise?
Aerobic exercise means “with oxygen” and is physical exercise that can be any type of low to high intensity cardiovascular conditioning also known as “cardio.” During cardiovascular conditioning, your breathing and heart rate increase for a sustained period. Personally I enjoy light aerobic workouts that incorporate a little resistance. The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 5 to 7 days per week. Examples of aerobic exercise include:
• Running and jogging
• Aerobic dance
• Cross country Skiing
Can it help with my fibromyalgia?
Yes, exercise is not only helpful for those who have fibromyalgia, it is recommended. Stretching also improves tight fascia, while exercising stimulates blood flow to the tissues and releases endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers. It will also increase energy and promote better sleep. So, the answer is yes! it can help reduce fibromyalgia pain if done correctly. Our muscles are living tissue and if they are not used or stretched, they will eventually become short and stiff.
It is important to perform a proper warm up before exercises with some light stretching, and a cool down afterwards to slowly return your heart rate to normal. Be sure to keep hydrated during your workout but not to the point that you are at risk of hyponatremia, a condition characterized by dangerously low sodium concentration in the blood from overly hydrating.
Ideally, you should drink as much water as you lose, you can use your best judgment on this. If you are perspiring more, drink more water. You can also weigh yourself prior to exercise then afterwards to see whether you weigh the same amount. The average adult needs 8, 8-ounce glasses of water a day. It’s also important that you drink quality filtered water when possible and avoid sugary sports drinks. If you feel you need the extra electrolytes, ask your doctor about a supplement.
Great low impact, low cost exercise machines
When it comes to exercise, it is sometimes hard to find good beneficial workouts, especially aerobic workouts that are low impact and will not hurt the joints. Its important to enjoy your workout while reducing the risk of pain and injury while you work out. Again, ask your doctor to clear you for resistance training and aerobic exercise before you begin. Many people have been asking me lately if there are great workout machines they can try during ‘lock down’. So, I have put together a list of some of the best low impact workout machines that you can do without having to leave your home or spend a fortune.
The sunny Health & Fitness’s Twister Stepper with Handle Bar. This simple stepping machine will work deep muscles without putting extreme pressure on your bones and joints. The twist action will help tone your whole body, especially your thighs and buttocks. This adjustable stepper comes with attached handle bars to help keep you balanced. The LCD computer keeps track of elapsed time, calories burned, and number of steps and not only moves up and down but incorporates side to side action as well. It is $69 and has many great reviews on Amazon.com. I have had mine for a long time and believe the quality and workout you get with this machine is well worth the price!
The sunny Health & Fitness Upright Row-N-Rider Rowing Machine. This machine is great for Strengthening not only your lower body but shoulders, arms and back! By activating groups of muscles together this machine will enable you to burn more calories. This machines has 3 adjustable resistance bands, intensify your workout by adding or subtracting bands and each band adds approx. 22 pounds of resistance. There is an adjustable squat depth and versatile handlebars and many more great features. At only $79, it’s no wonder it is a number one best-seller right now on Amazon.com. Everyone I know who has this machine can’t believe the workout they get at this price range.
The sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Bike Exercise Bike. This machine has a high 350lb weight capacity and allows you to achieve a full body workout to burn more calories while easily getting your heart rate up. The movable handle bars transform this recumbent bike into the ultimate low impact home fitness machine. The handle bars move back and forth while you pedal, thus, involving the arms, back, and shoulders. This amazing low impact workout bike has many great features, including a digital monitor which measures speed, time, distance, calories, and total distance. Yes, this ‘Amazon’s Choice‘ bike is the real deal. And I’ve seen this type of bike at the gym cost much more. You will be amazed at what this machine can do and at only $300, it costs much less than most gym memberships. The best part, you can use it whenever you want in the privacy of your own home!
Whatever works best for you
As a certified health coach and personal fitness trainer, the above are my top picks for low impact exercises for fibromyalgia. The truth is, you really don’t need a gym and you don’t need to spent thousands of dollars for good quality machines that will deliver results. Ultimately you must choose the workout or machine that you are most comfortable with and that best meets your personal needs. Finding something fun and that you will enjoy, will have you looking forward to your workouts everyday even though you may be stuck indoors a lot more!
Thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed the article, don’t forget to leave us some comments below, and take care.