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Articles

Running Against Fibromyalgia

"Hello! My name is Matthew, and I’ve suffered with fibromyalgia for the last 8 and half years.  I’ve had some really bad times with the condition, but last year I decided to join my local gym. Last summer I started working out at the gym, where I started doing the treadmill and bike for 3 minutes and built it up over time. This year I decided to get a personal trainer whom I see once a week for an hour. What I really noticed first of all was going to the gym, and this is the reason why I was able to start running as I was building up my muscles. When I was at a good level with my fitness I downloaded a running app and over a 9 week period I built up to do 5k. 

In my first week, I did 5 minute brisk walks to warm up and 60 seconds running then 90 seconds brisk walking and repeat the whole thing 7 times, then I finished off with a 5 minute brisk walk. I did it 3 times a week. It didn’t feel that I was actually running much, so it was pretty easy to start with. Over time, though, it started getting a little harder. I thought it would be a lot harder because of my fibromyalgia, but I kept going and the next week I increased my running to 90 seconds followed by 2 minutes of walking. It was very much a case of small improvements. I mean, only 60 seconds of running is hardly a big thing. Once I got to 5Km running distance, I started entering races. After I started doing the races, I decided to start increasing my running towards 10Km. I haven’t reached it yet – I’m on week 3 of 6 on my running schedule – but I’m well on my way.      

What I have noticed is that, since I started exercising and running, my fibromyalgia has improved. I was a little cynical about this at the beginning, but I feel a lot stronger and more able to deal with the condition. Don’t get me wrong, the condition hasn’t gone away and there are still times when I have flare-ups, and the flare-ups seem to last as long, but I feel a lot stronger, happier, and healthier, and I can do more.

Because I started feeling a bit better with both the exercising and the running – both of which make you think about posture - I recently started looking at my posture and ways to improve it. My personal trainer suggested that I work on strengthening my core, and one of the exercises that he suggested doing was “the plank”. He said that to get the full benefit of my posture improving I should do core exercises at least five times a week. This made me stand better, and sit better. I now hold my shoulders in a different way and my arms feel more relaxed. All of these little improvements have added up to make the fibromyalgia more manageable.

At the start, it seemed hard to make the decision to actually exercise, to make changes in my life. Once I made the decision and stuck with it, it was and is a case of making small improvements, and slowly but steadily pushing myself forwards by pushing back the fibromyalgia" 

Matthew

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