Friday, April 2, 2010

What Works: Focusing on Lifestyle Physical Activities

Billings Building, Johns Hopkins HospitalImage via Wikipedia

I don't often gloat when I am right, but this time is the exception.

Remember the post a wrote a few days ago: Just Do It!--The Cure for Fibromyalgia? Well, the venerable researchers at John Hopkins University recently published the results of their study that showed
short bursts of activity throughout the day benefited persons living with fibromyalgia more than traditional exercise programs.
"Just trying to accumulate a little more physical activity throughout the normal course of the day, as opposed to engaging in traditional exercise, can improve self-reported measures of functioning and pain among people with fibromyalgia," lead researcher Kevin Fontaine, PhD, an assistant professor of rheumatology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, told WebMD.

What Dr. Fontaine refers to is technically called lifestyle physical activity. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the article at WebMD doesn't really explain this concept very well. So I put together lists of examples of what lifestyle physical activities are and suggestions on how to implement more of them into your day.

  • Housework, including vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, cooking, laundry and making the bed, taking out the trash
  • Yard work like gardening, raking leaves, shoveling snow, watering the plants, mowing the lawn
  • Activities while running errands, such as pushing a shopping cart, walking around the store, carrying groceries and shopping bags from the car to the house
  • Leisure activities like playing a music instrument, playing an interactive game like Wii Sports or Wii Fit, walking your dog, riding your bike or playing with your kids
  • Wear a pedometer and work on increasing your daily number of steps slowly over time.
  • Park further away from the entrance to the store, doctor's office or other places you visit to create opportunities to walk more.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  • Explore new places with your family or pet, including your local parks, beaches and walking paths.
  • Try standing when you do an activity OR alternate sitting and standing.
  • Turn on the radio and dance!
  • Take regular breaks from sitting, reclining or laying down by getting up and walking around the house.
  • Make a list of fun activities you enjoy or would like to try that can help you get moving more each day.
I hope I've got you thinking about ways you can incorporate a few more minutes of activity in your day. Start with something fun, something that you enjoy and will do every day, even if it is only for a minute. The participants in the study worked on adding up to 30 minutes of activity into their day for 5 to 7 days per week, but depending on your situation, you may decide on a different goal. As with all things, start slow and small and work your way towards the amount of activity that works for you. The goal is to try to be more active without causing flare-ups or worsening your symptoms.

Lifestyle physical activity: now this is a great example of how to make "exercise" more fibro-friendly.

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