Fibroids can make us feel down. The heavy bleeding, bloating and other symptoms can be a real drag. One way to start bouncing back is by exercising. It may sound easier said than done, under the circumstances, but the benefits are at least two-fold. Physical activity triggers our bodies to produce endorphins and can help boost confidence while reducing anxiety and depression. Feeling better and being healthier can lessen the symptoms of the fibroids themselves, too.
*Make sure to speak with your doctor to get the all-clear before beginning any new physical activity.
Let’s be positive and start with the DO’s, which joyously far outnumber the DON’Ts!
Stretching can decrease the muscle stiffness that sets in when we don’t move much because… fibroids. It can also help to relax the body and mind, especially for those who enjoy the practice of yoga. Yoga in particular is known to help reduce back pain, a common complaint for those suffering through the symptoms of fibroids.
Walking has numerous benefits, including but certainly not limited to seeing gorgeous scenery, getting out into the fresh air and if properly coordinated (worth it!) a great opportunity to chat with a friend. Be it on a treadmill or through the neighborhood, walking’s benefits particular to women with fibroids include improving mood, increased energy levels, reducing stress and tension – all areas in which women suffering from the symptoms of fibroids can use a boost.
(Light) Weight training
Women with fibroids should probably (temporarily) forget about “pumping iron” per se, but what about light weight lifting? Using resistance bands or 1.5 kilo weights brings benefits of its own. Endurance can be a problem for women suffering the exhaustion that can accompany fibroids due to anemia and light weight training can build endurance back up.
While we’ve already mentioned walking, many women do get the all-clear from their doctor to begin jogging. Take it slow and short to start, but jogging is a great way to get rid of the tension of a long day. Additionally, while the visual some of us may have when thinking about swimming might be jarring, swimming is easy on the joints while getting your body moving. Super extra double bonus on this one is that swimming can help ease the bowel backups that fibroids can cause. So buy a package of those super-duper enormous tampons and get to the pool.
And as promised, the DON’Ts:
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
Life with fibroids can be pretty intense, in that it is exhausting. Doctors therefore tend to recommend avoiding HIIT routines. In fitness’s previous incarnation, high intensity aerobics would likely have fallen into this category as well.
Crunches or sit-ups
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Women with fibroids tend to have extraordinarily long menstruation accentuated by heavy bleeding. Compressing the abdomen can be intensely uncomfortable and the exercise can even increase blood supply in an area where you don’t want any additional blood, thank you.
In short, there are a lot of great reasons why all of us, including women with fibroids, should include physical activity as part of our daily routines. Even so, smart planning and a little research goes a long way in making sure we get all the positives while avoiding the potential negatives. And hey, have fun!