Your "secret weapon" to fight MS

You're probably familiar with the exercise "sales pitch" – regular exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight, boost your mood, and improve your physical strength, endurance, and flexibility. It will also lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

But did you know that exercise also has special benefits for people with MS?

Studies have shown that exercise can help people with MS by:

  • reducing disability
  • increasing strength
  • reducing fatigue and depression
  • improving sleep and appetite
  • improving bladder and bowel function
  • promoting a positive attitude
  • increasing participation in social activities
  • helping people maintain and improve their independence

For people with all levels of disability, exercise helped improve their MS and their mood. Plus, because exercise can increase your strength and endurance, it gives you an extra reserve of support and energy to deal with whatever MS brings your way.

In order to hold on to the benefits of exercise, you must keep exercising. If you're having trouble managing the activities you used to do, see if you can make some changes to your exercise routine. Your physical therapist or doctor may be able to help you modify your exercise routine to make it more manageable.

Before starting a new exercise program, speak with your doctor.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/MS-and-Exercise

What types of exercise are best for MS?

Many different types of exercise have been found to help people with MS. The most important thing is not which specific exercises you choose, but finding an exercise program that works for you so you can stick with it.

The first step in starting your exercise program is to consult your doctor. Your doctor and physical therapist can recommend a program for you that will fit with your fitness level, your needs, and your abilities.

Most exercise programs have three basic parts: endurance activities, flexibility activities, and strength activities.

  • Endurance activities, such as walking, propelling a wheelchair (wheeling), and swimming, help give you more energy and increase your ability to exert yourself. They are helpful in fighting MS fatigue.
  • Flexibility activities, such as stretching, yoga, and tai chi, help you maintain your range of motion and mobility. For people with MS, they help prevent muscle spasticity from causing permanent shortening of the muscles.
  • Strength activities, such as weight training, push-ups, abdominal curls, and stair climbing, help increase the strength of your muscles and bones. They also reduce fatigue and improve mobility for people with MS.

Exercises that you can do in the water, such as stretching, swimming, or aquafit classes, are particularly helpful for people with MS. Overheating can make symptoms worse, and exercising in the water can help you stay cool. The buoyancy of the water can support your movements so that it is easier to balance. As well, water can be used for resistance exercises to increase muscle strength.

Your doctor and physical therapist can recommend activities from each of these three areas to give you a well-rounded workout. Most exercises can be modified to fit different levels of ability. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about how often you should be exercising, and for how long. Keep in mind that you may need to try a few different exercises before you find ones that work best for you.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/MS-and-Exercise

Exercise safety with MS

Exercise can be a great way to improve your overall health, your mood, and your MS symptoms, but it must be done safely. Here are a few exercise safety tips:

Check with your doctor first. Before starting a new exercise program, talk to your doctor.

Have a game plan. Make sure that your exercise program is appropriate for your abilities. It's also important to know how to modify your exercise program based on your symptoms. Your doctor or physical therapist can help you tailor your exercises to fit your needs.

Get the gear. Once you've chosen an exercise program, be sure you have all the necessary supplies, such as supportive non-slip footwear, assistive devices, or safety gear such as a helmet or mouth guard, to help you exercise safely.

Warm up and cool down. Warming up before your workout can help reduce the risk of injury. Spend 5 to 8 minutes walking, marching in place, and gently stretching your muscles to warm up before you start your main workout. Then spend 5 to 8 minutes cooling down after your workout by gradually slowing your pace.

Don't overheat. Overheating can make MS symptoms worse, so do everything you can to stay cool. This could mean exercising in the water, working out in an air-conditioned room, or exercising outside in the morning or evening when it's coolest. Wearing light sports clothing can also help. You should also be sure to drink plenty of fluids so you don't get dehydrated.

Listen to your body. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about your target heart rate, what to do if you get MS symptoms while exercising, and when you should stop exercising. Exercise is good, but don't overdo it!

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/MS-and-Exercise

Too tired to exercise?

Feeling too tired to exercise? Here are some ways to find the energy:

  • Rest up the night before you exercise. Take a short nap during the day if you need it.
  • Work out at a convenient location to avoid the hassle of commuting.
  • Schedule exercise for when you have the most energy.
  • If you take exercise classes, let your instructor know that you may need to take a break during the class.
  • Prevent overheating - stay cool. There are many ways to do this, including working out in an air-conditioned room, during the coolest times of the day, or in a pool. If you choose pool exercises, make sure the pool temperature is appropriate: ideally, it should be about 27°C to 29°C (80°F to 84°F).
  • If fatigue strikes while you're exercising, try to keep going at a moderate pace for another 2 minutes. You can also give this a try if the fatigue hits you even before you begin. Sometimes, this is enough to overcome the fatigue. If not, then take a break (usually a 15-minute break is enough).
  • Start off slowly. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about how much exercise you should reasonably start with. If your expectations are unrealistic, you may lose your motivation to exercise.

Try these tips to get yourself started on your exercise program. And remember that things will get easier as you go along, because exercise can actually give you more energy - another great reason to start exercising!

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/MS-and-Exercise