A number of studies have contributed to the evidence that so-called ‘aqua running’ or ‘water running’ (using a buoyancy belt to avoid foot impact and keep the torso and head upright) offers many benefits for fibromyalgia patients. In particular it offers an excellent option for those who have problems with land exercise involving impact stresses, or have lower limb limitations. This video demonstrates what is involved in the simple exercise. And the studies cited below report the details of FM improvements, including significant reductions in pain intensity.
Examples of studies reporting FM benefits from water running:
In addition to ameliorating pain intensity, these trials reported improvements in circulation, orthostatic support (water pressure acts somewhat like compression stockings), balance (compromised in many with FM), aerobic capacity/ circulation, relaxation and mood. Not to mention weight loss.
• "A randomized controlled trial of deep water running: Clinical effectiveness of aquatic exercise to treat fibromyalgia," Assis MR, et al. Arthritis and Rheumatism, Feb 2006. (See free full text article here.) Finds average 36% reduction in pain intensity.
I love the concept of water jogging and water exercise as a way to reduce my FM symptoms. I also have low back problems and my doctor told me I must wear an aqua belt when exercising in the pool (after I had worsened my back problems not using one). However, when I tried to get a buoyancy belt, I wound up with a very cumbersome belt that is similar to wearing a tire around my waist. Any suggestions regarding finding a belt like the one shown in the video? Water exercise is so much fun and so easy; I wish I could make it part of a regular exercise routine.
For those of you who have trouble wearing the water running belt, try sitting astride a 'noodle', those styrofoam tubes often used in kids swimming pools. Most pools have them or you can buy them at hardware stores. You simply sit with the noodle between your legs and it will keep you nicely afloat--and its fun. The belts tend to dig into the ribs and the restrict breathing. I have fibromyalgia and I've been doing aqua running for over 15 years. Its has truly been a great way to stay in shape, plus its an opportunity to have a hot tub after, a shower, and to meet people.