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When we think about aquatic therapy or water exercises, we automatically think they have to be done in a pool. However, for people with fibromyalgia, working out in warm water has a lot of benefits.
Pools, even when heated, aren’t necessarily warm, especially in the winter months. Hot tubs, however, provide warmth all year round!
Exercising in heated water has many health benefits. Heated water-based exercise reduces blood pressure1, increases blood flow, and releases toxins. Water exercises allow for gentler movements than on land. It also provides a more intense workout with less effort. There are many exercises that I can perform in the water, but not on land.
With my overall pain levels lower than they have been since late 2019, I am finally ready to resume exercising. However, with my abdomen’s injuries, I need to be careful not to trigger a reinjury. Also needed to be considered is that I have NOT exercised since early 2020. So I am starting slow and easy with daily stretches outside in my inflatable hot tub.
Are you considering trying a warm water workout routine? Here are 10 stretches to help reduce fibromyalgia pain.
Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my coffee drinking habit if you use these links to make a purchase. You will not be charged extra, and you’ll keep me supplied with caffeine. It’s a win for everyone. I am not a medical professional, and nothing stated in this article should be mistaken for medical advice…
Best Upper Body Stretches
Roll Your Shoulders
Let the warm water soothe your muscles. Gently roll your shoulders forward and back.
Stretch Your Neck
Boost circulation to your neck with gentle stretches. Slowly and gently stretch to each side, then forward and back.
This is easily done on my hands and knees in an inflatable hot tub. It can also be done in a standard hot tub by standing and holding onto the side.
Curve your back so that your body forms a letter C from the side, then release to relax the muscles.
Stretch Your Shoulders
Take your left arm and place it directly across your chest. Then apply pressure near your elbow using your right arm. Release and repeat with the opposite arm.
Cross Your Arms
Lay your arms across your chest and hug your shoulders.
Warm water-based #exercise reduces blood pressure, increases blood flow, and releases toxins. #FibromyalgiaTweet
Stretching in warm water is easier and gentler on the muscles and joints than doing the same on land. #fibromyalgia #PainReliefTweet
My Favorite Lower Body Stretches
Best Hip Stretch
Long ago, I found fibromyalgia pain relief in the form of water jogging and aerobics and fell in love with a hip stretch taught to me by one of the instructors. This hip stretch can be done in a standing position depending on the depth of your hot tub or seated. I do mine seated in my inflatable hot tub.
Cross one leg over the thigh of the other. Then apply gentle pressure to the folded knee. You should feel a stretch throughout your hip. Release that leg and repeat with the other.
When performed in water, I have no issues with this stretching exercise. But when done on land, my hips have partially dislocated.
Stretch Your Calves
While seated with your legs straight in front of you, point your toes, lift them towards you, and release.
From a seated position with your legs straight out in front, cross them over each other like a pair of scissors.
Working one side at a time, this stretch is so much easier to do in water than on land. With my left arm supporting my body on the side of the hot tub and legs pointing out with my left on the bottom, I lift my right leg up and gently lower it. After a few reps, I switch sides and repeat with the other leg.
Hip and Thigh Stretch
Sit with your knees bent and the heels of your feet together. Then gently lift your knees and release them like butterfly wings.
Sitting for more than 15 minutes in a hot tub makes me dizzy. However, physical movements seem to make a difference. I have spent up to 30 minutes stretching without feeling the dizziness or fatigue that I typically do when just relaxing in a hot tub.
Start slow and in small increments. Be warned that while stretching and exercising in water may feel easy, your body is still experiencing a full workout! If you have been out of commission for a while or are new to exercising with chronic pain, begin with five minutes. Then add 5-minute increments as your stamina and strength increase.
The best part about hot tub workouts is that they can be done year-round! I have read many positive reviews from people who use the same inflatable hot tub as mine but live in colder climates. It can also be set up in your garage or basement. Most reviewers have also reported 2-3 years of continuous use of their inflatable hot tub. Although I love how soft and gentle the inflatable spa is on my muscles and bones, I hope to upgrade to a larger and sturdier version in the future.
Have you tried warm water stretching for fibromyalgia pain relief?