"I never avoid a movement — I just figure out how I can perform that movement in a more functional way for my body," Morgan Rees, an LA-based ACE-certified personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, and health coach with fibromyalgia, explains.
The chronic condition can make maintaining an active lifestyle challenging — a reality Rees knows all too well — but, she can't stress enough how important it is to keep moving.
In Rees' case, her muscles can become rigid and inflamed, and her skin can be sensitive to touch due to extra nerve endings, reduced blood flow, and even neuropathy brought on by fibromyalgia. She admits that her muscles are sore every time she works out.
That kind of all-over pain is never 100 percent avoidable, Rees says — but she's learned to listen to her body and adjust her fitness routine accordingly. This means, stretching before and after every workout, avoiding exercises that could trigger her back pain (the most sensitive part of her body), and taking hot Epsom salt baths after gym sessions.
For Rees, her symptoms are most heightened in the morning, which she says can be common after staying sedentary for too long. That's why Rees likes to work on weight lifting and mobility and flexibility training after she wakes up. Not only does it provide her with a boost of energy, it promotes blood and oxygen flow, too, making her feel "less captive" to her disorder.
While each case of fibromyalgia is individual to the person, Rees offered up three of her favorite exercises to inspire others with the condition to get active and feel better. Just remember to consult with your doctor before executing, always be kind to your body, and stick with whatever methods work best for you.
Deadlifts — which target lats, forearms, hamstrings, glutes, core stabilizers, and back stabilizers — can be done with a barbell, trap bar, kettlebell, or free weights, Rees explains. She recommends starting low in weight to make sure you can do the form properly.
Rees highly recommends putting a box underneath you that allows you to sit at a 90-degree angle when executing this move. If you do not have a box, use a bench that has the same effect.
Rees urges everyone to start on your knees with your hips forward in alignment with your core if you have not been practicing proper form during a push-up.
This movement involves the chest, serratus, core stabilizers, and lats, Rees explains.