Fibromyalgia and Spending Time in the Great Outdoors

Receiving a diagnosis of fibromyalgia is tough, yet relieving all at once. Finally, we can identify what is causing us pain and tiredness, and we can try out various treatment options, engage in physically activity alongside our family, and change our diet, in an attempt to find the right combination that helps us enjoy life and meet our responsibilities to the best of our abilities. Nature, too, can help us in many ways, both as a backdrop to our favorite form of exercise and because of its unique calming abilities.

Fibromyalgia and spending time in the great outdoors #beingfibromom
created by Brandi Clevinger using the image from © dbvirago at www.stock.adobe.com

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Outdoor Exercise and Fibromyalgia

Although the last thing you can feel like some days is taking part in physical activity, exercise is important when you have fibromyalgia for various reasons, It can help keep you at a healthy weight, improve your mood, and help battle stress, in addition to helping maintain bone bass, improving balance, and increasing strength.

Studies have shown that contrary to instinct, exercise does not worsen the pain associated with fibromyalgia. On the contrary, it can help lessen pain over time. In one study published in Arthritis Care & Research, participants with fibromyalgia who did moderate exercise for at least 12 weeks, showed  greater improvements in symptoms than those who didn’t. In other studies, is has been shown that outdoor exercise is more enjoyable, and helps us burn more calories than indoor workouts, so if you can, take your workout to the park, forest, or garden.

Photo by Luke Porter on Unsplash

Outdoor Yoga and Fibromyalgia

It is important to recognize your limits when you have fibromyalgia. That is, on some days, it may not be possible to head to the park with your family, but you can still take part in stretching exercises or do yoga or mindfulness meditation in the privacy of your garden.

In one study conducted at Oregon Health & Science University, researchers concluded that yoga may have the power to lessen many symptoms of fibromyalgia, including pain, stiffness, fatigue, poor sleep, anxiety, poor balance, and poor memory.

To turn your garden into a yoga space, it won’t take much work or expense. Think of creating a peaceful ambience. Water fountains work well in a garden because the sound of flowing water can instantly transport us to a mindful state. Other items you can use to raise the appeal factor of your garden include wind chimes, candles (which are beautiful at sunset), and music. It is important to turn your garden into a beautiful space that you can simply sit in and practice breathing exercises, on days when pain levels are high.

photo by evitaochel on Pixabay

Why is Time in Nature so Important?

Study after study has shown that even contemplating an image of natural scenery can calm us down and improve our work performance. In the same way, exercising outdoors boosts the stress busting effect of physical activity, since simply being in a verdant landscape lowers levels of stress hormone, cortisol.

When you have fibromyalgia, regular exercise is important, but so is finding a regime that isn’t too hard on our body or mind. Yoga and other holistic activities are ideal, since they can be adapted to how you are feeling and even on bad days, you can practice breathing exercises, which can help deal with stress and anxiety.

 

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Fibromyalgia and spending time in the great outdoors #beingfibromom
created by Brandi Clevinger using the image from © dbvirago at www.stock.adobe.com

 

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Brandi

Hi, I’m Brandi, the writer and creator of Being Fibro Mom and My Fibro Journal. Aside from my work on Being Fibro Mom, I run a group called Fibro Parenting on Facebook. I've been writing for the Fibromyalgia Magazine since 2016 and recently became the Secretary and Fibro & Families program director for International Support Fibromyalgia Network. Facebook-+-Twitter-+-Instagram

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