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Exercise is a crucial component for managing fibromyalgia. There are many benefits to exercise. With exercise you can improve flexibility, endurance, strength, and the ratio of fat to muscle in your body.

How To Get Started And Know You Are Doing It Right.

If you have someone available who understands fibromyalgia and can assist you designing an exercise program, use them. A knowledgeable person can help you learn to use different muscle groups that will lighten the burden on the more painful muscles.
After you have established a gentle stretching program, start an endurance program such as walking. Begin your walking program by increasing the amount of walking that you do in a day. Start by increasing by 3-5 minutes, then 5-7 minutes and then 7-10 minutes. Once you have increased by 10 minutes a day, start a second session at 3-5 minutes and repeat the increasing exercise times. Try to build up to 3 separate 10 minute walks per day. On bad days back off to fewer minutes, and do not try to make-up for the lost time on your good days

Minimize The Amount Of Eccentric Work.

One way to picture how to decrease eccentric work is by thinking of the hoop skirts that were worn years ago. The waist was the smallest part of the hoop and then the hoop became larger until the bottom. Now picture that you have the waist of the hoop at chin level.
Any activity with your arms needs to be done inside the hoop. When you are doing an activity, keep reminding yourself to stay inside the hoop. To minimize the eccentric work of your lower body you will need to take smaller steps when walking downhill and downstairs.
It is also important that you not continue to hold a muscle in a contraction. There are two pointers for this: 1: Take a break from any activity every twenty minutes. This may be as much as doing a different activity or as little as a 2 minute stretch break and 2: Pause between repetitions of the same activity. For example, if you are putting several things into a cupboard instead of a steady 1--2--3--activity do a 1 slight pause, 2 slight pause, 3 slight pause etc. Both of these will give the working muscles a break.
If we support ourselves in the middle of our trunk, the upper and lower backs do not have to work so hard to compensate for our posture. In order to find your centre.

Finding Your Centre

Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, both heels flat on the floor. Gently rock forward, as you come forward you will get a sensation of becoming "heavier" and a bit off balance. Rock back, feel the point where you seem lighter and in balance. As you continue backward, you will notice that you become heavier and unbalanced.
Now rock forward to the point where you feel balanced. This is your centre. Try keeping your posture such that you stay in the centered position. Be certain that you are centered. Now get those shoulders down.
Drop shoulders down and pretend you have a weight on the backside of your armpit.
Gently squeeze your shoulders blades together; this will keep the shoulders down and back.

Once you have the shoulders down and back,release the tension of squeezing them together while maintaining the posture.

Keep your head over your trunk.

Goals with exercise:

Set your own personal goals and share them with someone else. Decide if you want to do exercise alone or with someone else.
Your goal with exercise will be to make progress, not perfection. You will have slips and slides and it is important that they not lead to a crash.

Record keeping will help to be certain how you are progressing in your program.

Remember to be gentle and treat yourself as you would a good friend.

This material is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for the medical advice of your doctor or any other health care professional. Always consult with your physician if you are in any way concerned about your health.
© 2003 SLPM Self care Ltd.

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