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Ask an Exercise Physiologist: Fibromyalgia and exercise after poor mental health

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We’re here to help—and wonderful questions this week!

Ask an EP is here to help with all your health & wellness questions and challenges: Lifestyle. Wellness. Pain. Health.

Do you have a burning health & wellness question?

Now is your chance. Every week we will pick a couple of questions, and help you solve your burning query.  If we share our problems, we are more likely to solve them.

Let’s get started:

Do you have any hacks for managing Fibromyalgia? I work fulltime and have no energy before or after work.

Mornings are worse. I’d love to exercise, but I’m worried I’ll relapse into something worse.

— Caroline, 35

Hi Caroline

Living and thriving with Fibromyalgia is all about supporting your lifestyle demands and lowering (and managing) your expectations.

The fact that you enjoy exercising is a great start, however, you need to find a form of exercise that is de-loading, supportive and that you recover well from (24—48 hours later!!).

Do you have a pacing planner, or doing a diary? Utilising an activity diary will help you understand why you have flare-ups, and how to avoid them next time.  Here’s a pdf of a DOING DIARY.

Where is your base-mark at the moment? Can you handle a ten-minute walk? It may not sound like it’s not worth the trouble but, it is! Ten minutes is ten minutes—which is better than NO MINUTES.

If you start small and work your way up to 30 minutes of walking five times a week, then you’re on to something special!  The trick is to be able to hold the activity levels month after month—allowing your nervous system time to adjust.

My top hacks:

1) Find an activity you enjoy
2) Schedule the activity a few times a week
3) Assess your recovery
5) Meditation or mindfulness every day for three minutes

Hi Kirra, how do you get back into working out when your mental health has been so bad you have dropped off the bandwagon?

— Female in Canberra, 25

Dear Anon,

What form of activity do you enjoy? Do you have a buddy to exercise with—for support, motivation and accountability?

When best do you respond to exercise? Mornings work for me. Having a plan is really important—it takes the brain work out of it. It becomes a RITUAL for your brain.

Setting yourself up for success is the key!

Have you tried group exercise? Here are a couple of tips to help you walk through the door (the hardest part is getting started!!)

  • Take a friend
  • Let the instructor know it’s your first time (don’t hide at the back)
  • Be organised and arrive early (so there are no excuses!)

Whatever form of exercise you choose, think about HOW it makes you feel… positive reinforcement for your brain for the next time you doubt yourself!

I believe in you!

Great questions everyone. I’ll answer more next week!

Want to ask your own question?

We are all better together! Do you have a burning health and wellness question?

Fill out our Google Form, or email us your health and wellbeing questions, to either: editor@hercanberra.com.au or kirra@capitalhydrotherapy.com.au.

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