Exercise improves physical and mental health of people with fibromyalgia

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Evidence continues to stack up in favour of exercise – especially resistance training – as a treatment for fibromyalgia. Two recent reviews highlight the importance of physical activity when it comes to reducing pain and improving mental health.

As there is no cure yet for fibromyalgia, treatments are scrutinised in the quest to find approaches that can improve quality of life for the millions of people affected by the chronic disease.

Depression and anxiety that are part and parcel of fibromyalgia for many people can be taken on with resistance training, scientists report in Clinical Rheumatology. A team reviewed the research that has been carried out in the area and found seven key high quality studies.

“The results demonstrate that resistance training reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety in patients with fibromyalgia,” the scientists reveal. “Resistance training is efficient to improve the mental health of patients with fibromyalgia, reducing depression and anxiety.”

The second review, published in Joint Bone Spine, concluded that “supervised aerobic and resistance training programs reduce the pain intensity and significantly improve the quality of life and the physical and psychological functioning of female fibromyalgia subjects.”

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What is resistance training?

Resistance training means doing exercises designed to improve strength and endurance.

Anything that requires you to move against resistance (and that includes your own body weight) counts as resistance training. All you need are some hand weights or resistance bands, a chair and an exercise mat… and you’re ready to go.

Resistance training for fibromyalgia can mean simply moving your body against gravity, as when doing a push-up, sit-up or plank. Bring in weighted dumbbells and do some biceps curls, forward lunges or floor press exercises and you’ll reap the benefits. Mental health, physical health and quality of life will all improve.

To read more about the benefits of exercise for fibromyalgia, arthritis and osteoporosis click here.

For more news about fibromyalgia research click here.

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