Fibromyalgia is a physical condition that is characterized by aching and pain in muscles, tendons and joints at specific points along the body. Physicians, who used to believe that this condition was more psychological than physiological, have now found measurable chemical changes in the body of people with fibromyalgia.
People who suffer from fibromyalgia are not at greater risk for other musculoskeletal diseases and the condition isn’t associated with an injury, inadequate muscle repair nor any serious bodily injury or disease.
However people who suffer from fibromyalgia find that the pain seems worse at times of rest and less noticeable when they are busy, active or exercising. The exact cause of the condition isn’t known but some theories exist that it is triggered and exacerbated by stress.
Exercise has proven to be one of the best ways of decreasing the pain and discomfort of fibromyalgia for sufferers. And new evidence has suggested that aerobic exercise can help to decrease the symptoms and improve the quality of life for people who experience this condition.
Aerobic activity is any activity that increases the pulse rate and respiratory rate of the participant. There are some popular land based exercises such as walking, running, cycling and swimming that people with fibromyalgia can enjoy. But the benefits of water aerobics and fibromyalgia appear to outweigh the benefits of other types of exercise.
The benefits of aerobics alone are great for a person with fibromyalgia. They find that there is an increase in muscle strength; decrease in muscle stiffness in the mornings, there is a reduced risk of injury, an improvement in sleep patterns and a decrease in pain. Adding water to the mix appears to make an even bigger positive impact to the life of the person suffering from fibromyalgia.
Water aerobics and fibromyalgia are a combination that helps to support the body, cushioning the muscles and joints, while increasing the resistance and the amount of work the muscles must do to achieve the desired goal. The increased resistance of working out in the water also promotes an increase in balance, aids relaxation and reduces pain perception.
As with any exercise program you should consult with your doctor to confirm that this program meets your individual needs and medical concerns. Your physician may have suggestions to help you succeed. You should also use a qualified instructor or therapist at first. You may be able to move on to a home program that can be done at a pool.
Start your program slowly with a 20 or 30 minute session 2 or 3 times per week working up to 45 minute to 60 minute sessions. At the same time be watchful of your own limitations. If you become tired during the workout just relax in the water. Do not push past pain — instead listen to your body.
And don’t forget to hydrate during water aerobics or swimming. Pools set for water aerobics are usually warmer and while in the water you won’t notice yourself sweating. While surrounded by water you’ll be sweating and getting dehydrated — so drink!
There have been multiple studies that show that water aerobics and fibromyalgia is beneficial both physically and emotionally for the sufferer. A 2006 study in Spain and another in 2001 in Norway found that patients who used water aerobics had improved physical function and emotional health. There were both short-term and long-term benefits found in both studies.
Incorporating water aerobics and fibromyalgia will help both the sufferer and the family members and employers. Both of these groups come into contact with the person experiencing this condition and when the sufferer has better physical and emotional health it is easier for them to maintain great relationships with family while having less sick days and being more productive at work.