Aerobic Exercises – Slight to Moderate?

A friend of mine sent an article a couple weeks back: Efficacy of different types of aerobic exercise in fibromyalgia syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials, Häuser et al (see library tonight).  As always, the article is actually more interesting than its title…  Since this whole blog project started because of the remarkable effect extreme exercise had on my fibro symptoms, it is always interesting to find studies that have looked at different types of exercise and the effect on fibro symptoms.  Meta-analyses are nice because they look at a large group of studies and sum up the results.  This article gives a nice summary:

  1. Water-based exercises are not necessarily superior to land-based exercises
  2. “Slight-to-moderate” aerobic exercises are effective
  3. “Low intensity” aerobic exercises are NOT effective
  4. 2 to 3 times a week exercises for at least 4 to 6 weeks are necessary before reduction of symptoms
  5. Adding stretching or strengthening is NOT more effective than simple aerobic exercises

This corresponds pretty much to what I have been experiencing with exercise, with the exception of the extreme exercises I was doing at Crossfit.  I have not found a study that looks at extreme exercise for fibromyalgia.  In my experience, extreme exercise, which raises your heart rate to insanity is actually the most effective.  However, if you add weights to the regimen, the effectiveness drops almost immediately.  In other words, keep moving, breathing, and don’t stop to strengthen specific muscles.  Also the minute you stop, you lose the effectiveness.  It is not a cure – it is palliative.  I have never had a good response to slight or low aerobic exercise.  They usually make me hurt more and fatigue me worse than submersing myself in extreme exercise.  I would have thought water-based exercises were better, but I haven’t had a chance to test it yet.  Until the infection on my chin heals, I’m not allowed in a public pool.  Yep, infectious… But February will be the test for water.  I’m looking forward to it.

Thanks for the article!

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