Can Fibromyalgia Patients Enjoy CrossFit?

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Fibromyalgia is a condition that’s not very well understood by many physicians, although it’s beginning to finally come to the forefront of people’s understanding and acceptable. Unfortunately, for years, the symptoms of it – mainly held by women – were viewed as simply annoying nitpicking by those who were unfamiliar with the disease. One of the reasons is due to the fact that the signs can be subjective and vague, not to mention indicative of other conditions.

Common indicators of fibromyalgia include:
- Achiness in certain body parts, such as the joints.
- Depression and moodiness.
- Tension headaches.
- Migraines.
- Sensitivity to light and sound.
- Brain “fogginess” and forgetfulness.
- Body stiffness.
- Insomnia.
- Muscle spasms.

Fortunately, medical science has finally accepted that fibromyalgia really does exist, and there are plans to help those with the condition. There are also a number of proven tests for the condition that doctors have begun to use to determine whether or not a patient is suffering from it. According to reports, there are about eight million fibromyalgia suffers in the U.S. alone, from college students to people in their 70s.

What does fibromyalgia have to do with CrossFit, though?
This brings us to the CrossFit connection, which has been debated on forums around the Internet. As CrossFitters know, the program is pretty doggone intense. There’s plenty of sweat and movement involved in an exerciser’s daily regimen, and there’s no shortage of challenge.
While that can be a boon for the ordinary workout enthusiast or weekend athlete, it can be a problem for those with fibromyalgia.
One of the issues is that fibromyalgia can be triggered by too much exercise. At the same time, exercise has proven to be a great way for people to stave off their battles with fibromyalgia pain, discomfort, numbness and swelling.
Can fibromyalgia and CrossFit coexist?
The question is a “million dollar” one, and the answer isn’t a specific “yes” or “no”. In all honesty, it depends upon the individual who is experiencing fibromyalgia symptoms. Yet there have been many women and men with fibromyalgia who have successfully been involved in CrossFit without exacerbating their medical conditions.
The key that they all seem to share is the ability to listen to their bodies. That way, they don’t over-exert themselves. By avoiding doing too much, they can ensure that their fibromyalgia doesn’t flare up and cause issues after their workouts.
Of course, this can take some self-control! As CrossFitters know, the power they feel during intense exercising can provide an adrenaline rush that’s hard to beat.

Still, any person with fibromyalgia who wants to join the CrossFit world is urged to follow these guidelines:
1. Take it easy and do the bare minimum. You don’t have to go full-tilt.
2. Only do a part of the CrossFit routine.
3. If you’re working in a group, explain your situation and ask others to help monitor you. That way, they can “check in” and be your conscious if you start to overdo it.
4. After each workout, evaluate your health for the next two days. If your fibromyalgia symptoms rise, you probably did too much.
5. Eat well before and after your CrossFit experiences. Research has shown that healthy foods rich in vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids and lean protein assist in keeping fibromyalgia at bay. They also help keep CrossFitters healthy!
6. Invest in the right gear. Because of joint pain, fibromyalgia sufferers should invest in orthopedic footwear and supportive muscle tape.

As always, it’s important to keep your primary care physician in the loop as you embark on your exercise program. He or she may be able to give you some additional advice on how to maintain tiptop shape without intensifying your fibromyalgia.

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