September 24


Why Fitness Resistance is Good

By Sue Ingebretson

September 24, 2013

arthritis, fitnes DVDs, Fitness, fitness routines, fitness therapy, isolating muscles, ME/CFS, resistance bands, theraputic fitness, toning muscles


A recent blog of mine posed two important questions:

1)      Does Fibro Friendly Fitness Exist? and

2)      How can a fitness program reduce pain when it causes pain to start?

 Talk about fitness frustration!

Read or review the Friendly Fitness post here for more information and great tips on using warm water therapy. Aqua therapy can provide a great way to ease into a fitness routine that is non-impact and kind to a body that’s in significant pain.

The tips in that article as well as this one – of course – are for anyone with a physical challenge. Whether it’s minor, major, or anywhere in between. Whether it’s overcoming an injury, starting from scratch after a long time of being sedentary, or physical challenges such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, lupus, or ME/CFS, etc.

The great thing is that there are many fitness activities that can help to alleviate pain and tension. And, in my quest to feature low or no-cost options, here’s a doozy!

This one is so cheap, it’s within the affordable price range of most tweens whose sole income is their birthday check from great grandma. Would you like to try out a tool that ranges in price from “free” to under $10? There are pricier versions out there, but to begin, there’s no reason to stretch yourself (you’ll get the pun later) financially to take a test drive. So, what’s this über cheap fitness tool?

Resistance Bands!

Resistance Bands for Fibromyalgia Fitness
Resistance Bands for Fibromyalgia Fitness

Have you heard of these? Some call them stretchy bands. They happen to be a very inexpensive tool used to help strengthen, lengthen, tone, and stretch your muscles. The results they provide can include improved joint mobility, improved core strength, and an overall level of better balance. All this from the convenience of your own living room (or private area of your choice).

Resistance bands can be found “free” as an added bonus item in many purchased fitness DVDs. Look for those that say – FREE Resistance Band inside! Or, if you choose, you can look at the sports and fitness sections of large discount stores such as Target. You’ll find varieties from under $5 to maybe $20 or more, depending on the features. The purple one pictured here was free, and the green one was purchased for $3.95 at a Tuesday Morning store. I’ve also purchased them for my clients at Target.

When I first saw this plain, purple, rubbery resistance band, I thought – how on earth am I supposed to use this thing? It looked like something that was twice as stretchy and three times as long as it needed to be. Fortunately, since it came with a Leslie Sansone walking DVD I’d purchased, all I had to do was watch Leslie on my own TV. (I’m capable of following along and am fluent in the art of Monkey See / Monkey Do. I picked that up, among other important skills, in Kindergarten).

At the time, I thought — why not give it a go? And, once I learned the techniques, it seemed appealing to me to be able multitask. For example, why not do something healthy for my body while watching something enjoyable on PBS? (For you, go ahead and insert applicable network of your choice – CNN, ESPN, DIY, QVC, etc.).

As I mentioned above, there are a variety of resistance band designs. Some look like a 6” wide band of flattened taffy that’s stretched out to an unwieldy length. Others look like a funky bungee cord with fancy handles.

Here are a tips and ways to use resistance bands:

·         Find DVD routines that include the use of resistance bands and follow along as you are able.

·         Use the resistance bands with any fitness DVD. Simply add them to the existing moves.

·         The therapeutic benefits of resistance bands allows you to strengthen isolated muscle groups.

·         Use the resistance bands to do arm curls and strength conditioning just as you would use light weights. Play your favorite tunes to keep you motivated.

·         Combine using resistance bands with other fitness routines including walking, yoga stretches, and other whole body workouts.

·         The flexibility of resistance bands allows you to move in all different directions – where needed.

·         They can also be used to strengthen specific areas while avoiding injured or painful areas.

·         Building muscle in general is a great way to prevent injuries, fight bone loss, and relieve pain.

My favorite part of using resistance bands? The tension (resistance) is completely adjustable. As we know, for many of us with chronic health challenges such as fibromyalgia, our strength and stamina levels vary from day to day. Adjust anywhere from Beginner to Advanced — as you see fit (ha!). And my second favorite part? They’re cheap! Um, yeah — I think I’ve mentioned that.

Resistance bands truly are simple to use. In fifteen minutes or less per day, I can tone my arms, keep my joints feeling limber and pain free, and reduce the overall pain in my upper back, neck and shoulders. And, don’t forget that fitness in the general sense, is one of the best stress-relievers out there. Got stress? Get moving!

Poke around Amazon and check out their resistance bands options – there are hundreds to choose from.

Here’s another great tip: Check out YouTube for a eleventy-nine ways (don’t hold me to that exact count) to use resistance bands. Remember that variety is a good thing when creating fitness routines. Keep a good variety of routines going and make it fun.

It’s time to stop telling yourself that fitness is hard (or unachievable). I’ve been there – done that. It didn’t get me anywhere.

I know how it is when you can’t even get out of bed without extreme pain. Thing is, you’ve got two choices – to stay where you are, or to move forward. Start small. Take your time. Wear your favorite PJ’s or those comfy two-sizes-too-big sweatpants your family wants to light a match to. Relax and be kind to yourself. As with so many things, the baby steps you take today can lead to a healthier, happier, and (nearly) pain free tomorrow.

That’s exactly what happened for me.

I know it can happen for you, too.

Have you tried resistance bands? What did you think?


Sue IngebretsonInterested in co-creating your own program to heal from the inside out? Check out Sue’s Rebuilding Wellness site – and click on the Work With Sue tab to learn more.

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"True Healing requires a combination of healthy nutrition, healthy body movements, and emotional wellness. This is what I call the Restoration Trio" ~ Sue Ingebretson