People with fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that causes pain in the joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons and other parts of the body, often take medications to relieve their symptoms. But a new study published in Arthritis Care and Research says that a combined strength training and cardiovascular exercise program may also offer relief for fibromyalgia sufferers.
Researchers from Harvard Medical School studied 15 women with fibromyalgia. The women began a 20-week strength training program as well as a cardiovascular exercise program that included pool exercises and walking for aerobic activity and using hand weights and machines for strength training.
At the end of the 20 weeks, the women had improved both lower and upper body strength as well as their endurance in a 6-minute treadmill test. In addition, the women's fibromyalgia symptoms - such as stiffness, pain, fatigue, and depression - improved.
If you have a medical condition such as fibromyalgia, you shouldn't start a workout program without advice from your physician. When beginning any strength training program, it's important to begin slowly and increase your weights and endurance gradually to avoid injury.
Sources: Rooks DS, Silverman CB, Kantrowitz FG. The effects of progressive strength training and aerobic exercise on muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness in women with fibromyalgia: A pilot study. Arthritis Care and Research, Feb. 7, 2002, Vol. 47, p. 22-28.