We all hear advice about how exercise is great for fibromyalgia and chronic pain. I hear the advice so often it makes me want to scream, so I was thrilled to read a well balanced article here about fibro and exercise. The beginning started off as predictable as other fibro exercise articles, but hang in there it gets better.
The author points out the limitations of several studies on fibro and exercise, the #1 limitation being that a lot of people with fibro would never volunteer for these studies because they can’t exercise for an hour several times a week. Finally someone realized the craziness of this! Because of that limitation, these studies only get higher functioning fibro patients, not those of us who are lucky to get out of bed and get dressed in the morning. The author also points out that the studies drop out rates are as high as 60%. That’s a major red flag. There’s a high probability that people dropped out because the couldn’t hack the exercise routine.
Like all people with fibro, lyme, or other chronic illnesses, I struggle with exercise. I only have a limited amount of energy and I’d really like to put that energy into my family, social life, and cleaning my house (sad that is a priority, but I don’t like messiness). As I mentioned here I have never really gotten endorphins from exercise so it’s always been really hard for me because I feel so terrible afterward. It’s hard to justify exercising when you know your going to be in bed for 2 days afterward recovering. I used to love to do strength training (I had awesome muscles!) but it causes me way too much pain these days and produces very few results. Because of that I generally stick to yoga, but that’s not good enough for the fibro experts and doctors so I try to walk as well. Unfortunately not of this exercise leads to weight loss and so I continue to get lectured about my weight and taking care of my body. It is so frustrating. I really do feel like the tin man, waving my arms and falling over as I attempt to move my body when it refuses to be moved.