Hi Tara Marie,
I have fibromyalgia, which makes it very difficult to exercise. I exercise for a few days then my body gives out. I have to rest for at least a week. I was wondering if rebounding is a good exercise for me.
Thanks for writing. I am getting more and more calls and letters from people living with fibromyalgia. One of the best things you can do if you have fibromyalgia is exercise.
For reader’s that are not familiar with this condition, Fibromyalgia Syndrome is a chronic pain and fatigue disorder for which the cause is still unknown. The defining fibromyalgia symptom is multiple tender points and pain in the connective tissue of the body such as the muscles, tendons and ligaments. Fibromyalgia symptoms are different from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis because they do not involve the joints. The most common sites of fibromyalgia pain are the neck, back, shoulders, pelvic girdle and hands.
Stress or lack of sleep can make the symptoms of fibromyalgia worse. Additional symptoms may include: irritable bowel and bladder, headaches, facial pain and migraines, restless leg syndrome, impaired memory and concentration, skin sensitivities and rashes, dry eyes, dry mouth, anxiety, depression, impaired coordination, dizziness, vision problems, heightened sensitivity to odors, noise, light, touch and weather change. More women than men have fibromyalgia, and the disorder is quite common—it is seen in up to 5% of the population. Although it is tough to live with, it isn’t life threatening and it doesn’t cause permanent damage.
Exercise in many different forms, whether stretching, resistance training, walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, etc., are known to be effective for easing the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
The key is to start slowly and increase activity gradually. Consider the following tips:
No matter what form of exercise you do, the key is to start slowly because at the beginning, exercise may make your pain worse. Some muscle soreness is normal when you’re beginning to exercise, but sharp pain may be a sign that you have overworked or injured your muscles.
As you progress, exercise will become more comfortable for you. For exercise to help, you must do it regularly. The goal is to get started and keep going to gain relief from pain and improve the quality of your sleep.
To get back to your original question, Terri, I have a two-part answer:
First of all, you said that you exercise for a few days and then your body gives out. Not having met you or consulted with you personally, my gut instinct is that you are over-doing it on the days that you do exercise.
I don’t know the length of your usual exercise session nor do I know what form of exercise you are doing that wears you out, but my best advice is to take things very slowly and to not push your body so hard.
Please don’t get overwhelmed and think that you are incapable of consistently exercising. You can consistently exercise if you take it down a notch and work more gently for less time per session.
With respect to your question about rebounding as a form of exercise, only you can tell if it feels too jarring to your body. For the reader’s not familiar with rebounding, it is jogging or jumping on a mini-trampoline and is considered a form of aerobic exercise, as it elevates your heart and respiratory rates.
Rebounding is certainly a softer form of exercise than jogging on the sidewalk, for example, but it presents more stress on the joints than a workout in a warm pool.
Give rebounding a try, but for the first week, only workout for 5 minutes or so. Build on that by adding a minute or two to subsequent workouts so you can gauge how your body handles it.
I prefer that you exercise 10 or 15 minutes a day rather than 30 minutes for a few days and then have to take a week off before resuming activity.
The key to exercise for not only you but for everyone, really, is proper dosage. Exercise is great, but too much is detrimental. Through trial and error, you must find your limit and not push beyond it.
Please make sure that you not only properly warm-up for an activity, but that you do a slightly extended warm-up to give your body time to get used to moving. Keep your body warm during exercise and avoid getting chilled after you cool down.
Again, the key for you is to exercise in measured doses that will impose just enough stress on your body to have some effect, but not enough to sideline you for a week. Start with very low-impact activities and pay attention to how your body feels. If you choose to do higher impact activities, build up by gradually increasing the length of each exercise session.
Good luck to you and stay strong!
~ Tara Marie