Friday, January 27, 2012

Recently I was contacted by a reader asking if she could do a guest article.  Thank you Jenna

Jenna Walters is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She is especially interested in touching people’s lives through her writing. .Jenna also enjoys kayaking, hiking, and reading.

Fibromyalgia and Exercise

People suffering from fibromyalgia often experience symptoms like muscle pain, fatigue and discomfort at the body's tender points. The disorder can affect nearly every area of the body, causing constant aches and widespread discomfort. These symptoms make it difficult for many patients to even think about exercising, but including physical activity as part of a daily regimen can significantly benefit those diagnosed with fibromyalgia. 

Exercise is important for everyone, but it is vitally important for those with fibromyalgia. Physical activity is essential to keeping muscles healthy, flexible and strong. In the past, many doctors believed that activity would worsen the symptoms of fibromyalgia, but today it is widely recognized that keeping muscles healthy is one of the best ways to combat pain associated with the disease.

Regular exercise can boost endorphines, neurochemicals that are responsible for positive emotions. The increase in endorphines brought about by physical activity can help fibromyalgia patients feel less anxiety, depression and stress regarding both their disorder and their daily lives. Exercise can also help the body control the release of adrenaline, a hormone that can cause anxiety when unregulated.

Increased physical activity has also been linked to higher levels of serotonin. This neurotransmitter plays an important role in the regulation of moods. When serotonin levels are low, the brain responds with feelings of anxiety and aggression. By exercising daily, fibromyalgia patients can increase the amount of serotonin in the brain, resulting in less stress and a more positive attitude. Maintaining an adequate level of endorphines and serotonin is essential to reducing the stress associated with chronic diseases like fibromyalgia.

In addition to boosting one's mood, exercise benefits the whole body. For patient diagnoses ranging from peritoneal mesothelioma to fibromyalgia, maintaing a healthy and strong body are of upmost importance. Regular exercise can cause weight loss, which may help relieve pain associated with movement. Physical activity also improves the quality of sleep, leading to less stress and fatigue during the day. Aerobic workouts can improve the functioning of the cardiovascular system and lessen the risk of developing heart disease or high blood pressure. Exercise can also increase bone and muscle strength, which in turn may lead to a decrease in fibromyalgia symptoms.

Patients with fibromyalgia can reap these benefits by beginning an exercise program that fits their needs, abilities and schedules. Range-of-motion, stretching, endurance, conditioning and strengthening exercises can help reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms. By starting off slowly and setting obtainable goals, fibromyalgia patients can take charge of their healing through physical fitness.