Why is maintaining strength within our fibromyalgia exercise routine so important when
living with fibro and its related conditions?
When muscle is lost.. balance, posture and agility are affected. This can lead to de-conditioning, falls and injury. We cannot afford that.
Strength and agility are even more essential as we grow older.
By starting slow, and being consistent, we are giving our bodies the extra insurance needed to avoid injury. As I like to say ...
"Our independence depends on it"
The key in using fibromyalgia exercise to build and maintain muscle
mass as we grow older is consistency. Especially with any chronic illness along for the ride.
The irony is that the very people that need safe and effective exercise the most are often the ones that tend towards inconsistency. The reward lies in staying consistent even on the days when we don't feel like it.
There is something miraculous that happens when we trust the process...
A tool that I use when working with myself and clients is what I call ‘variance’.
This means that when using a machine or even when using hand weights, we use a
shorter and varied range of motion.
Instead of going into a range of motion that may be too extending or out of range for the fibro body, we lessen the range. This enables us to slowly increase our lifting weight over time during our fibromyalgia exercise with less risk of injury.
(Please note however that there will be some machines in the gym that
will never be fibromyalgia exercise appropriate, such as the ‘fly machine’ which extends the
arms too far from the body)
Using a shorter variance is a good thing though, because this is where much of the muscle activation takes place. When extending too far from our center point, we are not only risking injury, but the exercise itself also becomes less effective.
While on the subject of range or lever variance, when lifting anything heavy or bulky, (groceries, trash can, laundry basket, etc.) always lift close to the body, never extend the arms too far away or this can easily cause a shoulder or scapula strain.
For reducing muscle tightness and fatigue, it is
essential to first start with diet. Grains and sugars are very depleting to the
body. We must reduce and eliminate these foods that are depleting essential
nutrients from our bodies and musculo-skeletal system.
Fatigue 'settles' in the muscles, so it’s important to reduce any variable that perpetuates chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia symptoms. Protein deficiency is a root in both hypoglycemia and fibromyalgia.
An easy to digest and assimilate protein is essential. Glutamine is also a fibro essential as it has the ability to aid in healing leaky gut and increase of HGH (the youth hormone) that also aids in sleep and regeneration.
Many protein shakes on the market
(including those multi-level shake companies) have GMO's and hard to digest
proteins like whey and rice protein.
With fibro, we need easy to digest protein without GMO's.
Lack of healthy protein can exacerbate symptoms of hypoglycemia and weight gain in any chronic illness and especially in fibromyalgia.
Over the last 15 years, I have experimented with every protein powder I could get my hands on. I was never fully satisfied and had little to recommend and use with clients until Original Plantfusion and now with Natural raw version Sun Warrior. These are both excellent. Sun Warrior has no natural sugars, but has no added glutamine. Plantfusion has a few grams of natural sugars but has added glutamine for those who don't care to take extra glutamine. I actually use them together.
Both are available on this page, the Fibromyalgia Supplement page, and the Nutrition Tips page of this website. If you live outside the U.S. and cannot find either of these, look for protein ingredients like artichoke protein, pea protein, cranberry protein and sprouted quinoa.
Support healthy muscle and metabolism naturally....
Mix in a high powered blender with add-ins
such as green apple (excellent), flax or other seed meal, greens, and water.
Because the average female can only use about 10-12 protein grams at one time, I recommend using half servings of protein powder, this goes for every powder on the market. Remember that although we need protein, many people are still getting too much in their efforts to reduce carbohydrate foods.
NOTE: Add less water before mixing to avoid the drink becoming too frothy; add more liquid or water AFTER blending. This goes for ANY protein powder to make it more digestible.
Liquid minerals such as Concentrace Ionic minerals help support mineral supply, including magnesium and others that work together synergistically. Raw minerals are also more effective.
Energy is best activated through effective movement. We create specific exercises that help increase balanced energy. We are working to energize NOT over stimulate the fibro body. Instead of incorporating excessive stretching, I find that those with fibro and osteo issues do better with RANGE OF MOTION exercises on a daily basis.
Work to sleep according to the body clock. Many with Fibro say that they sleep when they can. The problem is that the body and mind will continue to suffer from imbalance. I have been there, and I still have to be diligent about getting to bed early.
Ask for accountability from family members. Treat yourself as if it is not an option. Implement a daily schedule that supports your goals. Staying up late depletes the adrenal glands and this in turn breaks down healthy muscle; we cannot afford that.
A second major tool to help adhere to the body clock is to arise in the morning (the closer to sunrise the better) and go out into the sunlight. Even if it's cloudy, you will experience light levels much higher than possible inside your home. This has multiple benefits:
Adaptogens (energy increasing and stress reducing supplement support) such as Rhodiola or Ashwagandha will help to reduce stress and increase energy naturally. These are generally safe and effective.
It's always best to check with your health care professional when adding any new supplements.
An important point to remember is that empowerment can only come from being consistent. Not every workout will go as planned, yet we do need consistency in order to take greater control over symptoms, fatigue, and pain levels.
At the same time we are increasing strength, agility and self-esteem so essential to living smarter with fibro and any other chronic illness.