We have often heard doctors, professionals, friends and family tell us all the benefits of exercise. Benefits that we simply don’t seem to experience due to Fibromyalgia. We are told we are supposed to feel better, get stronger, think more clearly, enrich our moods, lose weight, increase metabolism, the list goes on. What we end up discovering is that we feel more tired, don’t seem to get improvements on strength or endurance, we get injured easily, we struggle to lose weight, and what metabolism?
Why the struggles? Why are we not improving? Do we not get serotonin and endorphins after exercise like everyone else? Do our muscles not strengthen, are we not working hard enough? Are we doing something wrong? I will offer you three challenges to help you get back on track to helpful exercise that are appropriate for patients with Fibromyalgia.
One of the first things I noticed about exercise, and you probably did too…. we need sufficient amounts of energy to exercise to get the benefits of the activities. Without the energy output, our bodies will not gain or benefit from exercise, or work hard enough for gain or benefits.
So, how do we get energy? ATP(Adenosine Triphosphate) production is key. The body uses the food we eat to create ATP, but if the body is not utilizing food efficiently, ATP will not be produced at the right amounts.
( See article on ATP production)
One of the ATP inhibitors is glucose irregularity. If the body is unable to utilize glucose effectively, ATP production slows down. Too much sugar in our diet can create glucose irregularity if our body is not able to handle it, thus slowing down ATP production. This is true for both Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia, conditions that are caused by the body’s inability to process sugar.
(Affects of Hypoglycemia) (Affects of Hyperglycemia)
Since ATP is dependent on oxygen, you will feel winded walking across the room or climbing a few stairs if you are not utilizing glucose efficiently. This could be a sign of Hypoglycemia. Feeling weak can be a sign of Hyperglycemia, which also interrupts the body’s regulation of glucose. Studies have shown that many Fibromyalgia patients also suffer from Hypo- or Hyperglycemia, which is not to say those conditions are the cause of our fatigue, but are really symptoms of Fibromyalgia. Therefore, Dr. St. Amand suggests all patients start off with following the Hypoglycemia Diet for Fibromyalgia for about a month to three months, to see if energy production improves. Protein helps the body to regulate glucose levels more effectively and enables the body to produce energy more effectively. Whether you are experiencing symptoms of Hyperglycemia or Hypoglycemia, limit your intake of sugar if you want to see your energy increase.
As for me, I can attest to the fact that I feel my best when I avoid sugar, increase my protein, and avoid grains altogether. The diet for Fibromyalgia does not eliminate grains, but does limit it to whole grains and a small serving daily. Your first challenge is to follow this diet for the first three months and note any changes or improvements that occur. You can find more information on the diet following this link: http://www.fibromyalgiatreatment.com/hypoglycemia.html
Your next challenge is to gradually increase your exercise routine. It is common and normal for Fibromyalgia patients to struggle with exercise. If we do too much, it causes setbacks. That is why it is so important to start slowly and increase activity as your body allows. Beneficial exercises include Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, and other essentric-type activities where you are strengthening muscles at the same time and stretching and lengthening them. My personal favorite routines are led by Miranda Esmonde White and her platform, Classical Stretch. http://classicalstretch.com/
She believes pain is not an indicator that you are doing something right, (no pain no gain fallacy) but that it’s an indicator that you should back off. Starting off with 5 minutes a day is a great way to build up routine, strengthen posture and increase energy. As you gain mobility over time you can increase your activity by 5 minute increments. Remember, if you do too much at once, you might get an injury that will set you back a few weeks or more. I’ve done that many times before and I do not recommend too much exercise. I appreciate her coaching as it helps to encourage me to take it easy when I need to.
The last challenge: following the protocol will help improve your ability to move, exercise and do the activities you loved before Fibromyalgia made it difficult for you. We are here to help you, support you in times of challenges that come up, questions and answers, discouragement over symptoms, and encourage you to keep moving forward. Read through our website for more answers about the protocol (Guaifenesin Protocol), send Becky an email with any questions you may have (Contact Becky Johnson), and join any one of these groups on Facebook for support and knowledge:
Exercise doesn’t have to be a daunting experience, it can be managed well for Fibromyalgia patients, and you can have your life back. Accept the challenges: adhearing to the Hypoglycemic Diet for Fibromyalgia, gradual Essentric exercises, and following the Guaifenesin Protocol. Your experiences with pain and fatigue are real, and we are here to help encourage you on your road to recovery.