Short Exercise Sessions For Fibro

Don't like to exercise? You're not alone. Of course, the aches and pains of fibromyalgia make it that much harder to work out. But now, you may not have to sweat to improve your general well-being with exercise. A new study has it that short bursts of activity such as vacuuming or climbing stairs may be the ticket for improving the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Sustained Activity

One well-studied treatment for the incurable chronic pain condition known as fibromyalgia is exercise. Research has proven that people with fibromyalgia really do feel better and have less pain if they engage in regular, gentle exercise, such as walking, for at least half an hour a day, on most days. The problem is that sufferers often have trouble sticking with a specific exercise plan since fibromyalgia symptoms such as pain and fatigue make it hard for them to find motivation to engage in regular, sustained physical activity.

For this reason, researchers decided to see whether those with fibromyalgia might still get the benefits of moderate physical activity by using a less demanding approach: half an hour spread out over the course of a day, with several short bursts of activity carried out through a variety of everyday chores. To this end, the researchers had one group of fibro patients increase their daily activity levels over several weeks' time as they went about their everyday tasks. A control group was given information about fibromyalgia syndrome with no further intervention.

Short Bursts of Activity

Those participants who engaged in short bursts of activity began to be more active as the 12 weeks of the study went by. The patients wore pedometers to measure their daily step count which increased by more than half (54%). Responses to questionnaires suggested that the pain symptoms of those in the activity group were reduced by as much as 35% when compared to those in the education group. They also scored higher (18%) on questions relating to motor capacity. On the downside, this type of activity seemed to have no effect on fatigue levels, feelings of depression, or tenderness at known tender spots for fibromyalgia.

Researchers feel that while the improvements experienced by the exercise group were only moderate, they were very similar to improvements generated by regular sustained exercise as noted in earlier studies. Since the study was small, with only 84 participants, larger studies will need to be performed to verify these findings. It is also impossible to judge, at this point, whether fibromyalgia patients will be able to stick to such a modified approach to exercise or what the long-term effects might be in comparison with regular, sustained exercise. But if you've found it hard to stick to a regular exercise plan, you might want to try incorporating this new concept of short bursts of activity into your daily routine.

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