If you have fibromyalgia it can be hard to start exercising. Whilst you don’t have to exercise to lose weight it does help. If you are looking for a fibromyalgia workout for weight loss and how to lose belly fat with fibromyalgia then look no further, we look at different workout ideas here and how they could help you.

The more calories you burn the quicker you will find you lose weight. It is perfectly reasonable to lose weight without exercise, but it is likely to be slower than it would be with exercise.

If you have fibromyalgia and would like to exercise but are unsure where to start these tips should help. These aren’t the only exercises for fibromyalgia you can consider but might give you some ideas to start.

fibromyalgia on a notebook with a stethoscope

You don’t have to be in pain to get healthy

When it comes to weight management and heart health, we often hear how important cardiovascular exercise is for best results. Aerobic exercise is excellent for oxygenating blood, getting it pumping and helping bodies get lean and strong.

There are a wide variety of ways to add cardio to your routine, some are high impact, some low, and some are no impact altogether.

A lot of people are put off by the thought of adding cardio to their lifestyle because they have fibromyalgia which makes cardio harder and rest periods more painful.

So, they imagine there’s nothing else out there for them. It’s simply not true. You don’t have to hurt yourself to get healthy, low impact and no impact exercise can produce excellent results without causing joint and other types of pain.

lady lying down with a hot water bottle on her stomach

High Impact VS Low and Non-Impact Exercises

There’s no disputing how important getting your heart rate up is for high-quality exercise. The discussion gets cloudy when taking a look at the best way to get your heart rate up.

Most people leap right to the assumption that you’ve got to sign up for CrossFit or join a running club. There are so many ways to get your heart rate up that won’t leave you in pain.

While those types of exercise are excellent, they may be too hard or unappealing for some people. Thankfully, there are plenty of alternatives out there.

Exercise and Equipment

What is high impact exercise?

High-impact exercise is any exercise where a part of your body comes into contact with something else with significant force. Think of your foot striking the ground when you run, or both feet landing when you jump.

Hands hitting a punching bag would be an example of a high-impact exercise as well as doing an action like jumping jacks or burpees.

High-impact exercise is great for losing weight fast, building stamina, creating strength and increasing bone density, but it’s best for people at low risk for injury and without conditions such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue.

swimming goggles

What is low or no impact exercise?

Low and no impact exercise reduces the intensity or eliminates any part of the body striking a hard surface. Examples of low-impact exercise include cycling, dancing, and yoga. An excellent example of no impact exercise is swimming.

Low and non-impact exercises make the most sense when you are recovering from an injury, suffering from pain in the joints, muscles, or chronic fatigue. Older adults and people who have a significant amount of weight to lose also benefit from low and non-impact exercise.

Do you need some help to start exercising?

Sometimes those first steps are all you need to get moving and exercise as a new habit. These tips and tricks will get you moving and you will soon forget you didn’t like exercise!

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Why choose low impact exercise

You don’t have to brutalize your body to be fit. If you live with pain and have something like fibromyalgia, have an injury or illness, or simply are at risk for injuries, low and no-impact exercise is the best way to get healthier and fit without risk to your body. 

Low-impact exercise is a perfect alternative when you are nursing an injury or experiencing pain during high-impact activities. A lot of people believe the no pain, no gain mantra, but it’s simply not true. You can experience amazing health benefits from low-impact exercise.

Remember anything is better than nothing, just do a little at a time and build it up gradually.

lady holding back with fibromyalgia pain

Why swimming is perfect for fibromyalgia weight loss

There are plenty of activities that are low-impact. Activities like yoga, cycling, and Pilates are great examples, but sometimes our bodies crave a non-impact form of exercise. That’s where swimming comes in.

Swimming is Non-Impact but Full of Benefits 

Don’t let the fact that swimming is no impact fool you into thinking it’s a lazy way to get into shape. Swimming is wonderful because it uses your body’s movement against the resistance of the water. It’s an excellent cardio exercise that can be as intense as you’d like. Swimming is an excellent way to get a slimmer and healthier body.

Swimming is an All-Around Great Form of Exercise

Swimming checks off a lot of boxes when it comes to fitness. One session in the pool can help-

  • Boost your heart rate
  • Increase stamina
  • Reduce pressure on joints
  • Build muscle
  • Strengthen your heart
  • Burn up to 590 calories (check wiht my exercise calorie calculator)

The more often you swim, the bigger and better the benefits. 

Swimming Can be Social or Competitive

Whether you’re swimming with friends or competing in swim meets, there are plenty of ways to incorporate swimming into your exercise and social routines. Try one of these options-

  • Join a gym with an indoor pool and take a class
  • Challenge your kids to races at a family swim session
  • Compete in an outdoor swimming challenge

Other water exercises

Exercising with water doesn’t have to include swimming. There are other fun activities that happen near, on, or in the water. They may be a bit harder with fibromyalgia but you know your own body, do what you are able.

  • Water aerobics is a fun way to get your heart rate up while protecting your joints, and back from injury and pain
  • Kayaking is an excellent way to enjoy the water, get some vitamin D, and do some cardio
  • Paddle boarding, wake boarding, and water skiing are also fun water sports
  • Water polo and synchronized swimming are also popular water-based activities
Person open water swimming

Dance for exercise

For some people, exercising feels like a chore. While plenty of people find going to the gym relaxing and motivating, some people simply resist organized exercise. If that’s the case for you, it’s great to find activities that don’t feel like exercise. One of the best is dancing.

Dancing is a low-impact activity that can really get your heart rate up and get you in shape, without feeling like you’re working out. When considering exercises for fibromyalgia this is one you may easily forget but it is so easy to do and fun at the same time!

You Can Dance Anywhere Anytime

Dancing has no rule book. You can dance anywhere, anytime. That’s the best part about it. You don’t even have to be good at dancing to benefit. Simply moving your body counts as exercise. You can dance in the privacy of your own home, at a nightclub, or under the stars, it all counts!

Take a Dance Class for Added Benefits

There are all types of dancing. From ballroom to interpretive dance and everything in between. Depending on where you live, there may be classes in your area to learn a fun and invigorating type of dance. Thanks to Youtube and classes online, you can learn at home too. You can dance alone, in groups, or with your partner which can make getting into shape even more fun.

Dance while you clean

You don’t have to set time aside to dance at home, simply do a little dancing while you are cleaning or hoovering!

Home and Cleaning

Dancing Can Improve Your Mood

While dancing is a perfect low-impact exercise, it’s also great for your mood. Many people with fibromyalgia struggle with depression. This is partly due to the condition itself and partly due to the effects of the pain.

Music can uplift, excite, and encourage us. A fun beat can turn a bad day into a good one within a few beats. When you get your heart rate up, your body releases feel-good endorphins that flood us with happiness and peace. That means the next time you feel like you need a pick-me-up, the best solution is to have a mini dance party. 

Fun Places to Dance Like No One is Watching

Whether you love dancing in public or prefer to be alone, there are plenty of places to dance. Try some of these fun options-

Summer concerts- Many communities offer free summer concert series in the park. Find a nice space on the grass and dance away!

Community colleges- Many community colleges offer dance classes year-round. You don’t have to pursue a degree to take a community class and it’s a great way to meet new people and learn from great instructors.

Meet-up groups- MeetUp.com is a great resource to find meet-up groups in your area. Use keywords to find groups that meet for dancing whether it be in a club or special dance studio.

Dancing is a wonderfully aerobic exercise that has very little impact on the body. Next time you need to improve your mood and burn some calories, start dancing like no one is watching.

A group of people dancing together

Walking for exercise with fibromyalgia

When it comes to weight loss, people want the fastest path possible. That usually includes eating healthier foods with a calorie deficit and finding the most heart-pounding exercise routine possible. That, of course, usually leads to running.

Running is a wonderful exercise that can be one of the fastest ways to burn calories. It can also do amazing things for mood and overall physical health. Running is the perfect answer for a lot of people working to lose weight, get or stay healthy. What about everyone else? If you have fibromyalgia running might just not be an option.

For some people, running simply isn’t on their list of things they want or can do. When that’s the case, walking may beat running.  Here’s how-

running feet

Walking is accessible

No matter where you live, there are places to walk. From trails to the track at the local school. If you live in a hot climate, you can walk in a shopping centre where it is climate controlled. You can walk on a treadmill or elliptical machine or take a walk in your neighbourhood.

Walking is less taxing on the joints

Running can burn a lot of calories quickly, but it can also cause injury. Walking is low-impact and when you have the right shoes, can be incredibly comfortable. An hour of walking can burn between 210 and 360 calories, plus it helps build bone density and muscle mass. Check out my exercise calorie calculator!

exercise calorie calculator pin

Walking is perfect for your busy schedule

A lot of people have schedules so packed they don’t have time to get sweaty. Many people exercise before work, during their lunch break or in between commitments. Running can cause you to get too sweaty and dishevelled. Walking won’t ruin your appearance when you have limited time to work out. In my opinion, it is one of the best exercises for fibromyalgia!

Walking is easier to commit to

Each new year people make the commitment to get in shape and lose some weight. They jump right into high-intensity workouts that burn them out pretty quickly. By March they are passing up working out for the comforts that put them out of shape.

Walking is easy to commit to and won’t burn you out. The low-impact and low-intensity make it more likely to become a sustainable habit you’ll commit to for the long haul. 

There’s no doubt running is an exceptional way to get and stay in and stay in shape, but if that’s not possible or interesting, walking is a wonderful backup plan. If running is off the table, consider walking for your weight loss or exercise goals.

Two ladies walking for weight loss

Want to exercise without effort?

If you want an easy way to exercise here are some easy tips to help you burn calories without really noticing you are doing it! Perfect for anyone who feels they don’t have time to exercise!

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If you like funky leggings then you should definitely consider Locket Loves, they are so comfortable and go up to size 26. If you use my referral then you can get £5 off and I get some money to spend on more leggings too! I practically live in them now so a new pair will never go amiss!

Spinning

Spin is a very popular low-impact exercise for fibromyalgia you can do at home or in the gym. It very much needs to be built up and started gradually but once you get going you may find it perfect for you.

Thanks to brands like Peloton, you can spin in your home with thousands of people at once. Using their equipment or your own, you can log in to an account and choose a variety of classes from all types of instructors. You can ride anytime and connect with like-minded people who love spin as much as you do.

If you are plus size and worry about the weight limit of exercise bikes check out my guide to high weight capacity exercise bikes and spinning bikes.

There are a variety of spin gyms as well as sessions in more general gyms. Either way, they provide bikes and instructors. You can get a membership and meet up at the studio for in-person spin classes. Spin classes are high energy and burn between 400 and 700 calories an hour doing low-impact workouts.

spinning bike

Rowing

Whether you literally row your boat or simulate rowing on a machine, it’s a fun low-impact way to get into shape. It can be tricky with fibromyalgia but it all depends on where your pain is and how you manage it.

One of the biggest advantages of rowing is the calming effect it has on the body. The repetitive aspect of rowing has a meditative effect that can help calm and soothe a tired or overwhelmed mind.

There are rowing machines that you can purchase to use at home or you can join a gym. Alternatively, if you fancy joining a rowing club near you being outdoors rowing can be beautiful and invigorating at the same time. You can row alone or in groups which can add to the fun.

Home Gym

How to lose belly fat with fibromyalgia

If you have read this far but still wonder how to lose belly fat with fibromyalgia specifically, not just weight in general then I would advise you to work on your overall fitness with the exercises for fibromyalgia to lose weight above but also look at your diet.

This does not mean you need to change your diet massively, simply make a few changes and be sure to eat healthier so those workouts aren’t being wasted. As they say, you can’t outrun your fork!

Conclusion

There are plenty of alternatives to high-impact exercises for fibromyalgia sufferers that are fun and unique. Consider cycling, dancing, swimming, walking, or rowing as a fun low-impact activity for your next workout.

Remember to take it easy and only do what you are able to. It is much better to build up gradually than start a routine you are unable to manage and do yourself injury or end up in pain.

Track your exercise

If you track your exercise then it can help you stay motivated and exercise more regularly. Sign up below for my free download to track your exercise and keep going.

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If you like funky leggings then you should definitely consider Locket Loves, they are so comfortable and go up to size 26. If you use my referral then you can get £5 off and I get some money to spend on more leggings too! I practically live in them now so a new pair will never go amiss!

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