Isometrics are a form of exercise that involves tensing a muscle or group of muscles, holding them for a few seconds, and then releasing them to the count of seven. There is no noticeable moving of a joint, only the tensing of the muscles.
Isometrics can be done as their own exercise or the can be combined with some types of yoga or kungfu. Isometrics can also be used to tell the difference between certain diseases like mitral valve regurgitation, heart murmurs, and aortic stenosis.
These exercises are used to stretch, relax, and strengthen a group of muscles so they are a good exercise for people with fibromyalgia. As you tense the muscles they stretch and as you relax them they rest. This action also helps to strengthen muscles in those of us, that because of our fibromyalgia, find it hard to do more strenuous exercises.
There was a study posted in January, 2011 on how isometrics work in women with fibromyalgia. It was a small study, only fifteen women participated. Three types of exercise were done and each woman performed four sessions. The exercises consisted of three contractions at 100% muscle tension, three contractions at 25% muscle tension, and three contractions at 25% muscle tension that were held for two minutes each. After the study was completed it was determined that all the women had some degree of pain relief from these exercises but it was the women with the worst pain before the experiment that had the best results.
There was another study done by the McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Florida, Gainseville. It also showed that when isometrics were performed on the forearms of fibromyalgia sufferers for 90 seconds the pain in these individuals’ forearms decreased by 30%.
Isometric exercises will also give you a cardio workout. There is a danger here though. These exercises, because of their nature, can restrict blood flow to a degree and can cause a spike in blood pressure. Please be sure to check with your doctor before beginning these exercises.