Swimming Benefits for Fibromyalgia
The most suitable forms of exercise for patients with Fibromyalgia are swimming, cycling (static cycle) or walking. When cycling or swimming, fibromyalgia sufferers must allow appropriate time for warm up and warm down periods, with a slow incremental program to reach the proper length and frequency of aerobic exercise. The release of hormone-like substances (endogenous endorphins) while cycling, walking or swimming offers fibromyalgia patients pain relief; enhancing their well-being and self-esteem.
A study involving 34 patients with fibromyalgia had some of the patients perform aerobic exercise (cycle exercise which was designed to achieve a heart rate of 150 per minute) or flexibility exercises (achieving no more than 115 beats per minute) three times a week for 20 weeks. At the end of this period those patients doing the aerobic routines achieved far greater reduction in pain than the flexibility group.
What Benefits Do Sufferers of Fibromyalgia Gain From Swimming?
Of course for many Fibromyalgia patients, swimming is secondary, they would like to just enjoy themselves at the pool. This is fine although it provides a very low level of physical activity.
Those patients with fibromyalgia who want to swim to gain the maximum benefits of swimming, should decide on a more energetic program, beginning with a warm up. This could be walking the route to the swimming pool, a few minutes on an exercise bike, or just beginning your swim with easy, gentle strokes. The warm up warms the muscles to reduce the risk of damage, increasing the heart rate.
If you are not very fit, and are suffering from fibromyalgia, begin swimming slowly by starting with one length followed by a rest for 30 seconds to a minute. Don’t exhaust yourself by powering up and down the pool. Take it gently.
Over a few weeks you can increase the time you spend swimming. When you have developed a certain level of fitness you can adopt a program of warming up with slow strokes for 5 – 10 minutes, followed by 20 – 40 minutes of continuous swimming with different strokes, ending up with a five minute cool-down period with slower, more gentle swimming.
If you suffer from fibromyalgia, swimming exercises for short periods, 3 times a week should give you a good amount of aerobic exercise, reducing fibromyalgia pain and stress. However if you are dealing with FIBROMYALGIA, this exercise will have no effect on the strength of your bones. That is why it is a good idea for patients with fibromyalgia to include exercises that are weight-bearing like walking, jogging because of the stress it places on bones, helping the bones to maintain or increase their mass.
What Equipment Do I Need?
You do not need much to go swimming. A comfortable swimsuit is all you really need, although a pair of goggles is worthwhile if you are swimming in a chlorinated pool. A foam board can allow you to do exercises for fibromyalgia that pay particular attention to legs or arms, but most pools can provide this for you.
Don’t Forget To Enjoy Yourself
Find a local pool you like and try to find time at least once a week to go for your swim. A club or class adds a social element and may encourage you to go, when you otherwise might not bother. In addition a club or class run by a coach may mean you work harder and complete a full session.
Protect Yourself While Swimming
Bacteria, germs and other disease-causing micro-organisms found in ocean water, lakes and chlorinated pools can sometimes cause unpleasant symptoms ranging from diarrhea to skin, ear, and eye infections. Protect yourself from these unpleasant symptoms by not swimming after a heavy rainfall or swallowing any water.
Learn about the Benefits of Cycling for Fibromyalgia Syndrome.