Fibromyalgia and Exercise

SF00101-IMG03My patients often ask me if they should be exercising. While exercise is a healthy habit, one that has many health benefits, those with fibro should use caution. Stress is the catalyst for fibromyalgia – they’ve bankrupted their stress coping chemicals and glands. There is little to no resistance or stamina to stress, a little goes a long way. Chronic or acute stressors bring on fibro flares.


Exercise is a stress, a good stress, but still a stress. I recommend patients correct their issues with poor sleep first. Restoring deep restorative sleep builds up your stress coping chemicals, allowing you to withstand more stress. Once you begin sleeping through the night, preferably without drugs, no one has a sleep drug deficiency, then start a minimum amount of exercise. I recommend walking 10 minutes a day for one week. Then each week add additional 5 minutes to you daily walk eventually reaching goal of one hour a day.


If you are already exercising to some degree then certainly increasing your walk times on a faster pace is acceptable.


Be careful, go slow, build-up your stamina, don’t over do it, or you’ll flare.


Exercise Increases Longevity


A 1989 study showed that those who were in 20% fittest group of 13,000 test subjects were 75% less likely to die over the next 8 years than those who were in lowest 20% of this group. The big take away from the study was that those who were just a tad bit fitter than the sedentary subjects enjoyed a 55% lower death rate.

People who jog or walk at a brisk pace for 30 minutes a day reduce their risk of cancer, stroke, heart attack, and death by 55%.


I believe walking 30-60 minutes a day is one of the healthiest things you can do.

This half hour or better hour of power is yours to reconnect with yourself. I don’t recommend listening to loud music, watching TV, certainly not talking on the phone – disconnect and reconnect to your inner self. Pray, meditate or simply contemplate as you walk this is your quiet time, time to think, absorb, and decompress.


You can get a free copy of my Fibromyalgia and Deep Sleep Report by clicking on the link below:


23 Commentsto Fibromyalgia and Exercise

  1. Melinda Gough says:

    My family has always told me stress triggers my flares. It’s good to know that’s true. And I haven’t slept thru the night as long as I can remember. I welcome any helpful advice

  2. Dori Rusk says:

    How do you get the level of deep sleep needed..?
    Several sleep studies show I only get 22% of the needed REM?

  3. Becky says:

    Repetitive motion is a big problem with fibromyalgia. When I walk my back cramps up. However, I can work out (dance) in the swimming pool for an hour every day if I like.

  4. Patricia K. says:

    I just wish my husband would just read some of this, he is the main cause for my pain, so stressful just being with him, it tears at my heart. feeling worse than ever!

  5. Sharon says:

    Need all the help I can get for restorative sleep. I’d love to just fall asleep without the aids, especially this apnea machine.

  6. Sheila says:

    I had a doctor tell me that Fibro patients just need a healthy diet and exercise and that any doctor who prescribed narcotics to a fibro patient is committing malpractice. I will never ever use this doctor ever and my Mom will never go back to him either. some doctors are so ignorant.

  7. Betty Gossey says:

    Need Help! Play piano on Weekends! Gotta lose stomach and thighs!

  8. Ms Gyan says:

    Hi Dr Murphree,

    I am glad that you have this site, because as a person who had Fibromyalgia, I know what it feels like to be a medical misfit. Fortunately, my doctors who used Medical Acupuncture, treated my presenting symptoms, and did not act as though it was all in my head. I understood right from the time of diagnosis that it was a case of physician heal thyself, and that if I took NSAIDS that they would disrupt my sleep, and that this would mean more pain. so I trained myself to sleep…a welcome escape from pain after I finally did fall asleep. The work of Dr Eric Braverman informed me about neurotransmitters, and the role of supplements and diet; and a seminar about end state stress diseases (FMS CFS, Lupus Erythramatosis, RA) informed me about the HPA axis. I was delighted to hear you on the Back Hope Summit with Fiona Truman. Your website is a great find.

    All the best

    Ms Gyan

  9. Diane C says:

    Dear Dr. Murphee,

    I have recently (for about a month) been having great REM sleep, including vivid dreams. The weird thing is the dreams are very life-like, and include scenes from about 25 years ago when I was younger and married. I have not had any dreams from things that happened over the past 15 years. Do you think that is because my short term memory is bad?
    Also, the reason I have been sleeping better is that I tried a new med combo. I take 2 mg. Tizanidine with 1/2 of a 0.5mg Clonazepam/Klonopin. Within about 15 minutes, I fall into a natural sleep. I actually slept through the night a few days ago, and I have done that maybe 20 times in the past 20 years.
    I have an Adrenal adenoma, left kidney, about 1.4 cm in size. Do you think if I had it removed, I would have less symptoms? I do have elevated cortisol, WBC, ANA, ESR, speckled pattern on Alisa tests. Would the other adrenal gland be enough because I don’t really want to take steroids. I am currently 40 lbs overweight, which came with menopause.
    My meds are Morphine, Clonazepam, Neurontin, Prozac, Lisinopril, Tizanadine, Aspirin, and I am trying the Garcinia diet capsules.
    Thank you for your help!!!

    • Diane sorry to rain on your parade but no one has a Klonopin or Zanaflex deficiency….you are over medicated and heading down a slippery slope that long term be a disaster. The clonazepam (Klonopin) and Tizanadine (Zanaflex) don’t put in in deep delta wave sleep so you continue to deplete your stress coping chemicals, they are addictive and loaded with life robbing side effects. Neurontin is even worse…sorry but you want to know the truth, what I think…find a doctor who will treat the cause(s) not the symptoms. Drugs don’t make you healthy!

  10. Helen says:

    Hi Dr Murphree

    I’m so thrilled to have come across you. As I have given up on all doctors all stating exactly what you said, it’s not a real diseas, it’s in your head, you depressed and can go on and on, we’ll bloody hell how can you not start feeling down when you wake up (if you call 3 hours sleep, sleeping) and you so tired that you’re numb, or you have pain, yes all over.. You tired of being sick and tired and even listening to yourself complain! But yet you have to take kids to school, try gym… Get of to work, make supper and try doing all this with a smile on your face, whilst all you want to do is get rid of that pain of the day or just have some kind of energy. So I decided to research fibro on my own and found you… Yeah.. Someone who makes sense.. So thank you.. I’m trying to get hold of your books, but have already started on magnesium, 5htp, co-enzyme and melatonin, anything I need to add please let me know. Many thanks for all you do.. I’m from SA.. Doctors here don’t take it serious at all.. Regards Helen

  11. Casandra says:

    Hola Doctor, soy de xalapa Veracruz Mexico, tengo apenas 4 meses con FM me gustaria saber si puedo tener algun tipo de ayuda de su parte sin necesidad de viajar a los EUA ya que mis posibilidades no me lo permiten, espero que podamos estar en contacto y pueda ayudar a mas gente de Mexico, saludos y bendiciones.
    (translated by Hello Doctor, I am from Xalapa Veracruz Mexico, I have just 4 months with FM i would like to know if I can have some kind of help from your part without having to travel to the USA as my chances do not allow me to do so, I hope that we can be in contact with you and you can help more people from Mexico, greetings and blessings.)

  12. Toni says:

    I thoroughly recommend 5-htp for sleep. I take 2 before I go to bed and sleep like a baby. I haven’t done that in years. I found one wasn’t enough but 2 works a treat. I ordered some SAMe online and that should arrive soon, that is to help with depression and energy levels. I also have a chemical free diet and household and that improved my life a lot too. Thanks for a great website.

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