Exercise can help ease fibromyalgia pain and help you cope with the condition. Read on to learn some of the best types of workouts to ease symptoms. Exercises for fibromyalgia can reduce pain and make fibromyalgia more bearable.

Fibromyalgia causes chronic pain in the body. Constant muscle and tissue sensitivity can also lead to sleep problems. Pain that can be quite severe originate in parts of your body known as “soft spots.” Painful areas may include the following:

  • Neck
  • Back
  • Elbows
  • Knees

Choose the best exercises for fibromyalgia

Generally, there is no “best” activity for fibromyalgia. But remember, some activity is better than none! Choose from all of these, activities that you enjoy (or at least find tolerable) and locations that are convenient for your work or home.

This will make it easier for you to start participating in them and, more importantly, make them a routine.

When choosing exercises for fibromyalgia, be aware of your physical limitations and make adjustments to meet your needs. There are many ways to do this, including reducing the intensity of a movement. For example, if an aerobics DVD requires you to jump a lot instead, try to march better.

Or if a treadmill (with weight bearing) is too strenuous on your joints, try a stationary bike or the pool instead. Minor adjustments like these can make activities more comfortable so you are more likely to do them and get more of them.

These activities increase your heart rate and breathing rate, as well as your body temperature to sweat. If you are thinking about adding structured exercise to your life, start with aerobic activities (walking, swimming / aqua aerobics, running, biking).

These are the normal responses to exercise. Aerobic activities generally lead to greater benefits for fibromyalgia symptoms. Consider adding flexibility training and strength training later after your body has adapted to the general increase in activity.

Review the following list of exercises for fibromyalgia that can give you a guideline on how to start a routine on your way to free yourself from this chronic condition in a big way:

The best exercises for fibromyalgia

The good news is that there are various treatments for this condition, ranging from diets to physical exercises, which, although they do not completely eliminate this condition, do provide significant relief if you know how to do it well.

Get active

Many doctors recommend an exercise program as the first line of treatment for fibromyalgia. This is before any type of medication has been considered. Even if your doctor prescribes medication for your condition, it is important to stay active. Movement should be a key part of your overall treatment plan.

According to the Cochrane Library , research shows that 12 weeks of moderate aerobic training, combined with strength training, can improve your pain and general well-being. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases , regular exercise is one of the most effective ways to treat fibromyalgia.

Walking works

Walking is considered the number one way to exercise for fibromyalgia . That’s because it is a low-impact aerobic activity. Walking safely can bring oxygen to your muscles and decrease your pain and stiffness.

The American Heart Association (AHA) confirms that shorter periods of exercise throughout the day can be almost as beneficial as longer ones. It is suggested that you start slowly, for example with 10 minute walks. Then build up to 30 minutes of walking a day.

Swimming in warm water

Hot water and light exercise make a calming combination to help ease fibromyalgia pain . Research published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science showed that exercise in a pool was superior to exercise at the gym or exercise at home in relieving fibromyalgia symptoms. Research suggests this may be due to the reduced impact on joints from exercise-based pool exercises.


You don’t have to sweat for exercise to be helpful. For fibromyalgia patients, it is advised that simple activities can make a big difference. For example, try:

  • Gentle stretching
  • Relaxation exercises
  • Maintain good posture

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Be careful not to overdo it. Avoid any stretching that causes pain. It’s best to stretch your stiff muscles after you’ve completed some light aerobic exercises. This will help you avoid injury. Other tips for a healthy stretch include:

  • Move gently.
  • Never stretch to the point of pain.
  • Hold light stretches for up to a minute to get the best benefit.

Do light lifts

Strength training can significantly reduce fibromyalgia pain, while improving overall well-being, according to the Cochrane Library . Strengthening workouts that involve resistance machines or free weights are appropriate. As long as the intensity is increased slowly and very low weights are used.

Start as low as 2 to 5 kilos. Regular strength training can result in a significant drop in:

  • pain
  • soft spots
  • depression

Tasks count too

If you’re not good at the gym or have too much fatigue or pain for more vigorous workouts, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases suggests that gentle exercise can still help.

A study published in Arthritis Research & Therapy found that even vacuuming or scrubbing helped people with fibromyalgia feel less pain and function better. According to the results of the study, just 30 minutes a day spent doing these types of tasks made a difference.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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