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The 50/10 Guide For Fibromyalgia Mobility

Thursday 23 July 2015


From ProHealth:


Risk Ahead sign

The 50/10 Guide for Fibromyalgia Mobility

By Sue Ingebretson
July 20, 2015

Do studies that point to potentially tragic consequences of living with chronic illness worry you? Studies have linked fibromyalgia to numerous additional challenges such as depression, dementia, osteoporosis, premature aging, disability, and more. I’m all for fostering awareness of potential risks, but what about awareness regarding prevention?

I remember witnessing a heated group discussion at a fibromyalgia support group. The topic at hand was a study linking stress and fibromyalgia. The conversation started with the finer points of the study defining the difference between stress and chronic stress.1 Agitation increased as group members shared their own stories of stress in a seemingly “mine is worse than yours” fashion. They shared their experiences and frustrations, relating in unison that nothing could be done. The sense of hopelessness and anxiety in the auditorium was palpable.

I finally stood and asked if anyone had practical strategies to counteract the effects of stress. Even better, I wondered if the study had shared ways to prevent stress in the first place. My questions were met by silence and blank stares.

Finally, the support group leader said, “We’re discussing the fact that fibromyalgia and stress go hand in hand. We have to plan ahead for how stress brings on flares and makes our symptoms worse. It’s not like we can change anything.”

I knew right then, that was not the right group for me.

When it comes to fibromyalgia studies, I’m all for analyzing them to gain a better understanding of potential co-existing health challenges. But, I believe the object of this discovery is finding ways to feel hopeful rather than hopeless. These studies provide us with helpful clues similar to Danger Ahead signposts that let us know what to avoid.

Do you expect your health to decline?

It’s okay to prepare for additional challenges and possibly anticipate the risks for increased symptoms. But expecting them serves as an open door – to what you don’t want.

There’s a powerful difference between expecting risks and avoiding risks.

Understanding your potential for additional challenges is important. Awareness is always a good thing. However, it’s important to incorporate that awareness into a larger picture that also includes practical strategies for what can be done.

Taking action based on these understandings is the main goal.

Consider the studies linking increased physical challenges resulting from inactivity. A sedentary lifestyle (also referred to as prolonged sitting) has even been called “the new smoking” when it comes to pointing out the health risks.2

A sedentary lifestyle has been connected to frightening health risks including, obesity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression, muscular atrophy, and dysfunction in your body’s ability to breakdown fats.3 All of these risk factors are linked to the potential for increased rapid aging and premature death.

Of course, limited mobility issues (including pain) increase the risk of a person sitting still for longer periods of time. One aspect of prolonged sitting that contributes to many fibromyalgia symptoms is poor or impaired circulation. Lack of body movement is a common complaint simply because it’s painful to move.

Here are a few symptoms of poor circulation.4 Are any of the following common experiences for you?

  • Cold hands and feet

  • Dizziness

  • Dry skin

  • Muscle spasms

  • Fatigue, lack of energy

  • Swelling and water retention

  • Mental fuzziness

  • Shortness of breath

  • Hair loss

  • Numbness in the extremities

  • Blotchy skin and blemishes

Here are some of the lifestyle behaviors that contribute to poor circulation5:

  • Smoking

  • Alcohol

  • Prolonged sitting

  • Immobility related to disability

  • Sugary diets lacking fiber

  • Lack of exercise

  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies

  • Poor sleep positions

  • High transfats consumption

  • High caffeine consumption.

Analyzing the risks and reasons for any health challenge provides us with ammunition to take action. For five tips to help increase your circulation and reduce the risks of prolonged sitting, check out this article, “Is this Surprising Health Risk Taking Your Breath Away?

Taking action allows us to become proactive. We can develop strategies to prevent or even avoid the risks of potential health challenges.

Strategies to avoid or improve health challenges also make great study subjects. I was pleased to read a recent study from the University of Indiana that showed a quick and easy strategy to counteract the effects of prolonged sitting.

In fact, I was doubly pleased to read about it since it contradicts former conclusions of previous studies that claimed the damaging effects of prolonged sitting are irreparable.

Of course, there are always studies that contradict other studies.

That’s perfectly fine. As patients, we get to read, sift, and apply the information that has merit for our own personal concerns. We get to apply the strategies we find helpful and create our own practices to further our personal healing goals.

So, what did this University of Indiana study share?

They discovered that even as few as five minutes of walking could reverse the harm done by sitting. They suggest taking breaks each hour for short bursts of walking. “American adults sit for approximately eight hours a day," says Saurabh Thosar, Ph.D. "The impairment in endothelial function is significant after just one hour of sitting. It’s interesting to see that light physical activity can help in preventing this impairment."6

Focus and attention can improve, too. Working in blocks of 50 minutes while taking five to ten minute breaks can be very effective.7 Researchers believe that “vigilance decrement” results from focusing on any one subject for a prolonged period of time. Contrary to what we may think, taking periodic breaks helps us to stay on task.8

Could a 50/10 guide benefit your mobility concerns?

Whether focused on work or sitting to relax, set a timer for 50 minutes. Once that timer goes off, it’s time to move your body into action. For five or ten minutes --

Get up … get moving … get walking.

If you’d like more healthy ways to use your handy dandy timer, check out this article: “10 Timer Tips for Healthy Fibromyalgia Support.”

For those of us with fibromyalgia, improving the body’s circulation gives healing a much-needed boost. Oxygenating the body through movement allows our body’s natural recovery process to take place. Body movement stimulates blood flow, causing nutrient rich blood to pump through the body bringing healing nutrients to areas in need.

In short, improved blood flow speeds up the healing process. Are you ready to apply this shortcut to healing and implement a 50/10 guide to your day?


1. “Acute vs. chronic stress.” Centre for Studies on Human Stress. Retrieved 7/12/15.

2. “Sitting Is the New Smoking: Ways a Sedentary Lifestyle Is Killing You.” Huffpost Healthy Living. 9/29/14.

3. “Ways Sitting is Shortening Your Life.” The Active Times. Retrieved 7/12/15.

4. "What are some of the Symptoms and the Causes of Poor Circulation? Retrieved 7/12/15.

5. Entin, Beverly. “Poor Circulation Causes and Treatment Options.” May 19, 2015.

6. Phillip, Abby. “Take a seat. You may be able to reverse the damage to your health.” The Washington Post. September 8, 2014.

7. “Effective Breaks.” Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved 7/12/15.

8. “Taking Breaks Found to Improve Attention.” Retrieved 7/12/15.


The above originally appeared here.


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