Simple Ways to Improve Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia affects about 2 percent of the U.S. population. and often, those who have the condition are afraid to exercise because they fear worsening their symptoms. But experts say that regular physical activity actually helps fibromyalgia sufferers.

The condition's hallmarks -- widespread body pain and fatigue -- make it tough to work out. So how can people with fibromyalgia be encouraged to exercise without fear of making their pain and fatigue worse? A new study shows that taking small steps can help improve pain and functioning of those with fibromyalgia, as long as it's done in moderation. 

Here are some activities to help you get started. They should be done at a pace intense enough to make you breathe heavily, but not so much so that you can't hold a conversation: 

Buy a pedometer, and walk more. Walking is a total body exercise, and you can moderate the pace and control the intensity. Wearing a pedometer allows you to easily monitor your progress. 

Take the stairs. If you work in an office building, take the stairs instead of the elevator once or twice a day, adjusting your routine based on what's easier for your body. 

Do yardwork or garden. But make adjustments to fit your needs. That means if your back tends to bother you, consider sitting on a bench while gardening rather than bending over while standing up.

Do housework -- and make it fun. Turn on music while you vacuum or clean so you move a bit quicker while you work.

Consider water or aqua exercise. Warm water can be especially therapeutic.

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