Fibromyalgia-affected women can benefit from aquatic aerobic exercise. The findings come from Turkish researchers who revealed that aquatic aerobic exercises can offer benefits to fibromyalgia patients.
Fibromyalgia patients experience widespread pain and thus have weaker muscular strength. Recommended as a means to reduce pain and build strength, exercise can be difficult for many patients to perform.
Aquatic aerobics offers low impact exercise, which can have a positive effect on patients and help them deal with chronic pain all the while improving strength.
The researchers analyzed physical and psychological impact of aquatic aerobics and isometric strength-stretching on fibromyalgia patients.
The team evaluated 75 women who were divided into three groups: a home-based isometric strength and stretching exercise program (ISSEP), a gym-based aerobic exercise program (AEP), and a pool-based aquatic aerobic exercise program (AAEP). The treatments took place over the course of three months. Patients were submitted to Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), SF-36 physical and mental health scores, the Six-Minute Walk Test (6MWT), Visual Analog Scale (VAS), and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) at baseline and after the treatment.
Patients in the ISSEP group experienced only slight improvements, and the biggest improvements were seen in the AEP and AAEP groups. AAEP was deemed to be the most successful, and researchers believe it is in part due to the absence of impact force on the joints during water exercises.
The researchers suggest that fibromyalgia patients should take part in aquatic aerobics as a means of improving their condition.
Benefits of aerobic exercises
Aerobic exercises are those that increase your heart rate and maintain this increase for a prolonged period of time. These types of exercises allow for blood to circulate throughout the body, improving the heart function over time. Examples of aerobic exercises include walking, running, cycling, or swimming.
Aerobic exercises can offer many health benefits, such as:
- Strengthening muscles, decreasing muscle weakness
- Reducing muscle stiffness
- Lowering the risk of small injuries to muscles
- Improving sleep, which is a common problem in fibromyalgia
- Helping reduce pain by releasing endorphins, which are natural painkillers
- Decreasing risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and other life-threatening illnesses
Some safe and effective aerobic exercises that fibromyalgia patients can try to improve their condition include walking, cycling, and water aerobics, as these exercises have less of an impact on joints.
Here are some tips if you are looking to include aerobic exercises into your fibromyalgia treatment plan.
- Gradually introduce aerobic exercises into your life – start off with five minutes a day and gradually build it up.
- Always warm up and cool down.
- Try different activities and find one you love the most to make sure you stick to it.
- Engage a friend to exercise with you for company and motivation.
- Expect to experience some pain at first –this pain will subside over time.
- Ensure you rest after exercise – don’t overexert yourself.
By following these tips, you can have greater success in adding aerobic exercise into your fibromyalgia treatment plan.
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