The Benefits of Exercise for Fibromyalgia


You might be suffering from fibromyalgia and that is often accompanied with painful tender points, fatigue, deep muscle pains, etc. In this case, you need to do or opt for exercising as it would be the last resort. Most importantly, exercising would be what your doctor ordered.

Here it would be all about the stretching, daily walks, swimming, tai chi, yoga, Pilates, etc. Sometimes low-impact related exercises can make you feel fit irrespective of whether you have fibromyalgia and that ultimately reduces your pain and even keeps you healthy.

Of course, fatigue and pain are most associated with fibromyalgia and exercising as well as daily activities makes it tough for a person to do, still it is necessary to be physically active. Studies show that doing regular exercising would improve the function, pain, and the whole quality of one’s life.

Can Exercising Flare up Your Fibromyalgia Pain?

At times, you would be reluctant to go for exercising and that might be due to the fear regarding the pain getting worse. However, you need to begin at low pace and try to go slow to keep the symptoms from flaring up. A best way would be to begin with walking two minutes each day and that needs to gradually work up your way to around 30 minutes for two to four times each week.

Keep in mind that it is necessary to pace yourself. On your good days, if you do too much, then you end up having more bad days. If exercising is increasing your pain, then reduce the intensity of the exercise or the time doing it.

Exercising Can Modify the Manner in Which Your Brain Processes Pain

Besides the usual benefits involved in exercising, there are specific benefits of exercising especially when it involves fibromyalgia. These are the positive changes that are associated to the pain in terms of the pain processing. In short, exercise is somewhat a disease modifier. Multiple studies done over the years clearly show that healthy adults who were deprived of sleep, exercise and both end up having fibromyalgia symptoms. When it is related to the certain elite runners that participated, it showed that they end up in suffering from tenderness, pain, depression, and anxiety.

There are other studies that clearly showed that aerobic exercises, balance training, stretching, strength-training, etc; all these combined activities with mindful of yoga and tai chi benefitted people suffering from fibromyalgia. The best part is that doctors feel that one can improve all those functions when one exercises for fibromyalgia. Hence, it means somewhat aerobic exercise is a huge priority-based exercise.

Not many people are aware that physical functions respond faster to aerobic exercises. Various individuals suffering from this syndrome get deconditioned that they end up living on the couch, as most of their fibromyalgia disturbs their sleep.

Exercising Would Even Ease the Pain and Sometimes Cause Too

Of course, being active is very much important. That can be termed as one of the necessary things for you to understand when you are suffering from fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia experts feel that the downward spiral leads to the deconditioning beginning of the pain, and it ends with pain. At times, any kind of attempt to avoid the pain would lead to inactiveness and that leads to more pain at the end. Here the pain would be above and beyond to what your chronic pain can be. When it concerns fibromyalgia, it can be hurtful when you are exercising, but you must take it in a slow way. There would be a lot of chemical changes on your brain and that can make it tougher for you, especially when you are planning to exercise vigorously.

Here the issue with growth hormones is that they get released during the deep sleep. Various people suffering from fibromyalgia end up in spending time in deep sleep. Hence, that means their body would not be able to store and repair those necessary hormones. This leaves the body with normal baseline level.

Begin Slow and Go Slow When You Want to Prevent Fibro Flare

For people suffering from fibromyalgia, they need to begin slow and go slow. That can help to prevent a flareup. It is all about taking your time and making the necessary progress in a steady way for benefits and fun. That starts with around 7 to 10 minutes each day and working up to around thirty minutes for many months.

Make Sure to Stop When You Reach Your Maximum

When it concerns a regular fitness class, instructors would push participants to go to the next level for changing their body shape or improving the metabolism. However, when it concerns fibromyalgia, one need to train a lot to reduce the loss of functions and increase the quality of life.

You must save a lot of energy and stop just before you become tired. You must provide yourself with a little room to breathe, at the end of the class. Here it even related to when you do more. Just hold back a little for avoiding the cycles of exertion, recovery, and flare. Hence, if you are having a flare up just do as much range-of-motion and flexibility work as you can. As soon as the symptoms reduce, you can gradually restart your exercise.

Other Major Benefits of Exercising With Fibromyalgia

Well, the regular exercising would benefit a lot of people that suffer from fibromyalgia. This is possible by –

  • Providing a range of motions to the painful joints and muscles
  • Burning huge calories and making weight control easy
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Improving person’s outlook on life
  • Increasing aerobic capacity
  • Improving one’s sense of well-being
  • Increasing energy
  • Improving cardiovascular health
  • Reducing anxiety levels and depressions
  • Stimulating secretion of happy hormones and endorphins
  • Relieving stress that is related to chronic diseases
  • Strengthening muscles and bones
  • Reducing pain

What Are the Best Exercises for People Suffering From Fibromyalgia?

There are various exercises that people suffering from fibromyalgia can do. They have the option to experiment with many exercises and routines to gain the best results. Even they can check out which works for them the best.

Hence, some of the major exercises that would be useful and great are –

Aerobic Exercises

The aerobic exercises like walking and running would assist you in handling many of the fibromyalgia symptoms. Studies done in many countries show that aerobic exercises are the best means for treating fibromyalgia. Researchers feel that aerobic exercises would improve the health-related quality of the life and even the physical function, thereby reducing pain and stiffness.

Aerobic exercises would at times put a strain on the joints and muscles. Hence, one can try the low impact aerobic exercises like swimming.

Group Exercises

When it concerns exercise classes, these can boost one’s motivation. This is among people suffering from fibromyalgia. Ultimately, that would help them to stick to a good exercise regimen. People who are new to exercise could begin with a low intensity activity like tai chi, yoga, aerobics, etc.

There are certain recreation centres and gyms that provide exercise classes. These would be specific to the people suffering from chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and even ones suffering from reduced mobility.

Tai Chi

Tai chi is one of the ancient martial arts. This originated from China and consist of stretching and slow movements. The exercise encourages mind-body awareness, and it helps both the physical and psychological symptoms of fibromyalgia. Studies show that modern styled supervised tai chi is effective or more effective than aerobic exercise for managing fibromyalgia symptoms.

As per the study people got most relief when they attended tai chi classes frequently and regularly. Also, individuals that attended two classes a week for around twenty-four weeks had the most significant improvements in their revised fibromyalgia impact questionnaire (FIQR) scores.

Strength and Resistance Training

Regarding resistance and strength training, they help to strengthen the muscles and improve the whole symptoms of the fibromyalgia. Multiple studies and research showed that people suffering from fibromyalgia followed progressive resistance training and they were able to have an overall better health, muscle strength and pain relief.

Not only that, many kinds of strength training routines, especially the ones from group strength to lifting weights at home is great and helpful.


Yoga provides a gentle stretching and mind-body awareness. You can consider this as a slow and steady approach to physical fitness. No doubt, yoga can reduce self-perceived disability and help with many fibromyalgia symptoms. These include depression and fear or avoidance of movement.

Do You Think Exercise Would Ease Ones Fibromyalgia Symptoms?

Now you must keep in mind that people suffering from fibromyalgia would suffer from extreme chronic pain. Exercising can help to prevent chronic pain by strengthening the muscles, preventing all kinds of muscle wasting, and even reducing the damages to the muscles.

Besides that, exercise would assist in lowering the other fibromyalgia symptoms. These consist of depression, difficulty concentrating, and sleep problems. More research is needed to confirm these benefits.

Some people suffering from fibromyalgia would suffer from mental health conditions, like depression. Research done on depression show that exercises can be effective in alleviating some symptoms. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that adults aim for at least 150 minutes of medium intensity exercise or 75 minutes of high intensity activity per week. Here the CDC even recommends that adults must do strength training exercise, ones that can target all the major muscles groups on the two days a week basis.

Now people suffering from fibromyalgia need to try doing the recommended amount of exercise. However, this condition would make exercising difficult, particularly for people experiencing depression or fatigue.

Frankly, individuals suffering from fibromyalgia may wish to start slowly and gradually increase the amount of time they spend exercising once they have identified a type of exercise that they find helpful and enjoyable.

Other Major Fibromyalgia Treatments

People suffering from fibromyalgia would be able to get the best results when they are able to combine many treatments. You should talk with a doctor regarding the symptoms that are improving or worsening. One must make them aware if any new symptoms have developed or not.

Some major treatment options that can provide relief are –

  • Medication: Fibromyalgia drugs like pregabalin would assist to reduce nerve sensitivity. Some people get relief from antidepressants, and they would help with both mental health symptoms and physical pain. Some doctors prescribe pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Therapy: Now therapy helps people suffering from fibromyalgia to cope with chronic pain. With the assistance of a therapist, one can learn ways to reduce or manage stress.
  • Stress Management: For many people, stress and trauma are triggers for fibromyalgia. Now, stress management strategies like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing, etc may be helpful.
  • Managing Triggers: Some people suffering from fibromyalgia find that specific factors, like certain foods or seasonal changes would trigger these symptoms. You can identify these triggers and then avoid or prepare for them. That would help to reduce symptoms.
  • Alternative And Complementary Remedies: Some of the people find relief from acupuncture, massage, special diets, and other alternative therapies. It is important to discuss with one’s doctor before trying any alternative treatments. Some of them would recommend only using complementary remedies alongside more traditional medicine.


Like most of the diseases, when one opts for exercising, the body gets recharged and ends up being a new one. Through the various exercises, one can easily be able to get rid of various diseases like fibromyalgia.

Not many people know that fibromyalgia could be a dangerous disease when it is not treated in the proper manner. Unless, you learn to have a good understanding of the methods and treatments to follow, you will not be able to recover from it.

As clearly stated above, the various exercising regimes discussed would be the best means of getting rid of the fibromyalgia. You could try these exercises and see for yourself. However, it would be great if you could consult with your doctors just before you begin to do them.


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.

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