Person lacing up sneaker with text overlay: Should I Exercise Today? Determining Whether to Exercise with Fibromyalgia

Should I exercise today? Determining whether to exercise with fibromyalgia

“I really need to exercise, but I just don’t feel like it.” I’m ashamed to admit it, but I say this at least once a week. Have you ever found yourself saying something similar?

As someone who worked in the fitness industry for years, I know the importance of exercise, not only for fibromyalgia, but for our general health. That doesn’t mean it’s not a struggle though.

Most of us have probably been told by our doctors that exercise is beneficial for fibromyalgia, and I know from experience that it’s true. The problem is that we are almost always in pain and feeling fatigued. It’s easy to make excuses not to exercise, and once we start down that slippery slope, it’s hard to stop the slide.

There’s a difference in not wanting to exercise and needing to take time off from it though. There are definitely times we need to take recovery days. Each person is different, and each of us needs to listen to our bodies. Nobody knows us better than we know ourselves, and if we know we need to take a recovery day, we should allow ourselves to take it without feeling bad about it. My problem is that sometimes I just can’t tell if I really shouldn’t exercise or if I just don’t want to.

So how do we figure out if we should exercise or not? Asking ourselves a few questions about our real motivations for not exercising might help. Here are some that have been helpful for me:

5 Questions To Ask Yourself When Considering Whether You Should Exercise

  •  Am I in too much pain to exercise? Since we’re pretty much never pain-free, we need to determine if, at our current pain level, we’re able to exercise. After living with fibromyalgia for a while, we can usually tell when it’s okay to do some exercise and when it’s not.
  •  Am I my “normal” tired, or am I feeling that bone-crushing fatigue that accompanies a flare? Although we’re also fatigued most of the time, there are levels of fatigue. Our level of fatigue is a determining factor when we’re deciding whether or not to exercise.
  •  Do I feel unable, or am I just unwilling to exercise? It’s easy to think we’re not able to exercise when we’re not feeling great, but sometimes it can just be that we’ve gotten so used to not exercising that we really don’t want to.
  •  Am I running a fever? Obviously, if we’re running a fever, we don’t need to exercise.
  •  Am I dizzy? Dizziness is something many of us who live with fibromyalgia struggle with, but it can also be a symptom of other medical issues. As it affects our balance, exercising while we’re dizzy can throw us off balance and result in falls and injury.

Answering these questions honestly can usually help us determine whether or not we should exercise on that particular day. It can help us decide whether we should take a recovery day or if we’re just making excuses not to exercise.

Consistent exercise has many benefits for those of us who live with fibromyalgia. Consistency doesn’t necessarily mean exercising the same amount of time and in the same ways; it means being as consistent as possible with our bodies’ limitations.

We need to learn to listen to our bodies and take breaks from exercise if we need to. We also need to recognize when we are making excuses not to do it.

How do you tell if you need to take a break or you’re just making excuses not to exercise? Please share!

Blessings,

~Terri

14 comments

    1. Ha ha…. I know what you mean Michelle. Because we pretty much never feel ‘well’ it’s really easy to make excuses not to exercise. The problem is that the more excuses we make, the worse we start to feel. I hope you’re staying safe and well, sweet friend. Sending hugs!

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I find it difficult sometimes to differentiate between “I don’t want to exercise” and “I can’t exercise today”. I remind myself that my symptoms will be worse tomorrow if I don’t exercise today which sometimes does the trick, but ultimately I guess there will always be days when we just cannot do it.

    1. I struggle with the same issue sometimes Captain. Sometimes it’s really hard to differentiate between the two. That was why I had to come up with some questions to help me figure out the difference. I hope you’re staying safe and well, my friend. Blessings to you!

  2. It’s not always easy to know what to do with pushing yourself versus resting, even going out let alone exercising. Really helpful questions to ask yourself when trying to get that balance. Please take good care of yourself, Terri. Stay safe & as well as possible xx

    1. I agree Caz – finding that balance can be difficult. That’s why I had to come up with some objective way to decide whether I should exercise or not. That way, I can figure out whether it’s a case of me needing to take it easy or of me just making an excuse not to do it. You take good care of yourself too, sweet friend. Sending love and hugs your way!

  3. Some great questions to help check in with ourselves Terri! I always have to ask is it the right time of the day and what else do I hope or need to achieve. This is because post exercise I may need an hour or even a few hours to be recovered enough to cook dinner or achieve tasks required for my employer.

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