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How to Exercise With Lupus & Fibromyalgia

By Christy Bowles ; Updated August 14, 2017

Lupus and fibromyalgia are both diseases that cause muscle pain, joint pain and fatigue. These diseases are most likely to occur in women of child-bearing age, and the chronic pain association with the conditions may cause sleep loss, fatigue and loss of muscle tone. Regular exercise is encouraged as an essential coping tool in patients with lupus and fibromyalgia because it not only improves cardiovascular fitness and overall strength, but exercise assists with stress reduction, mood control and pain management.

Consult with your doctor about your fitness plan. Whether you have been diagnosed with lupus, fibromyalgia or both, it is critical to discuss your workout routine with your physician to ensure that your workout intensity and length is appropriate for your current state of health. If you have been fatigued or unable to exercise, your doctor will help you plan a workout schedule to gradually increase your endurance. You may also wish to consult a personal trainer or fitness professional who has experience with lupus and fibromyalgia patients.

Select exercise plans that you will enjoy and do consistently. Consistent exercise is important to maintaining pain management and fighting fatigue. If you are experiencing a flare of pain or fatigue, you should do your best to engage in light, low-impact activities such as walking or swimming. Even minimal activity can help reduce stress and raise energy levels.

Focus on strength training. Lupus and fibromyalgia can cause a loss of muscle tone due to both the medications used in treatment and a lack of exercise caused by pain and fatigue. Strength training two times a week will help tone your muscles and keep you strong, and this, in turn, helps your body build resistance to flares and their associated symptoms.

Choose exercises that reduce your stress levels and lead to relaxation. Stress reduction and relaxation are often key to fighting anxiety, depression, pain and insomnia. Exercises such as yoga or Tai Chi offer a combination of physical activity and stress reduction, and as such they can be key tools for the management of lupus and fibromyalgia.

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