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Strength Training and Fibromyalgia

Oct 5, 2010

If you have fibromyalgia, the idea of any type of exercise may make you want shrivel up in despair. True, exercise can be painful, especially on those tender muscles and joints, but exercise is actually one of the most beneficial treatments for fibromyalgia symptoms. Exercise of any type has been proven to help lessen your pain, strengthen your muscles, and make your daily life a little bit easier. Strength training in particular has been receiving a lot of attention from fibromyalgia sufferers. If you are suffering from fibromyalgia pain, learn more about strength training and how it could help to reduce the intensity of your symptoms.

What is Strength Training?

Strength training is a type of exercise that involves using your muscles to lift extra pounds. Over time, you lift increased amounts of weight in order to develop your strength and endurance. Strength training is typically done with free weights (like barbells and dumbbells) or on strength training equipment designed to target specific areas of the body. However, more and more strength trainers are using stretchy resistance bands to increase their muscle strength . Strength training without weights is also popular. Just use the resistance of your own body.

Strength training targets all the major areas of the body, including the arms, legs, abdominals, back, shoulders, and chest. There are specific strength training programs and exercises designed to work out particular muscles in these body parts, and they are usually done in sets, ranging from 8 to 12 repetitions for each set. In between sets, a rest is taken in order to allow the muscles to recuperate.

Strength Training vs. Weight Training

When we envision strength training, many of us picture men and women with rippling muscles lifting huge barbells. This is not the type of strength training that is advised for people with fibromyalgia. Instead, strength training for fibromyalgia sufferers is focused on developing increased strength, endurance, and muscle tone throughout the body – not those huge, bursting muscles. Fibromyalgia sufferers who wish to strength train should not be concerned with the amount of weight they can lift, but rather that they lift small amounts of weight regularly and correctly.

Benefits of Strength Training for Fibromyalgia Suffers

Strength training is highly recommended for fibromyalgia sufferers because of the wide variety of benefits it can offer. Recent studies performed by Harvard University have shown that a progressive regimen of strength training helps to reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Specifically, weight training helps to increase muscle strength and muscle mass, however, benefits of strength training also include:

•Strength training helps to reduce muscle pain and stiffness by encouraging daily use of all body parts.

•This type of training helps to improve your overall fitness level, increasing your energy and reducing your fatigue.

•Strength training has been shown to improve sleep habits, allowing you to fall asleep faster and remain in deep sleep longer.

•Exercise of any type can help to improve your mood and alleviate symptoms of depression.

Strength training can also provide a number of other important benefits, like increasing your metabolism by up to 15% and reducing your risk of osteoporosis, a debilitating bone illness.

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