Benefits of Exercise

Exercise reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke, lowers blood pressure, helps to control weight and stress, and reduces your risk of diabetes and certain types of cancer.

But what can exercise specifically do for people living with MS?

A recent study showed that regular aerobic exercise - exercise vigorous enough to increase heart rate and breathing rate-increased fitness, arm and leg strength, and improved bowel and bladder control in people with MS who participated in the study. Some people also reported reduced depression and fatigue.

Other studies have shown that exercise can help with MS-related problems such as poor balance and muscle spasms.

Exercise can also improve your muscle strength and heart health. This means that if you have a flare-up of symptoms, you have an extra reserve of support and energy. So when your symptoms subside again, you'll be stronger during recovery.

Keep in mind that all exercise has benefits, but those benefits fade away if you stop exercising. So it's important to continue to exercise. That means that if you find you can't do what you used to do, try to modify what you're doing to make your exercise more manageable. Ask your doctor, specialist and physical therapists, exercise physiologists, or certified personal trainer for help.

Even moderate exercise for 20 minutes or so every day can give you the same benefits as more strenuous workouts. Find something you enjoy and the benefits will follow.

Be sure to talk to your doctor, specialist and neurologist before starting an exercise program. They can help you in understanding any special cautions or instructions. Every individual with MS is different.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. 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-Benefits

Careful exercise is best!

People with MS can enjoy the benefits of exercise. Even though exercise may present certain challenges, you can work with your individual abilities and needs as your symptoms and medications change.

Some people with MS may experience numbness, tingling, or blurred vision when they exercise. These symptoms are temporary and should subside within 35 minutes of stopping. You may want to ask a family member or friend to drive you to and from an exercise class or the gym, in case you experience these symptoms.

Ask your doctor, physical therapist, and fitness instructor for instruction and guidance on such issues as:

  • How to monitor your heart rate and breathing rate and reach your appropriate heart rate target range.
  • How to adapt and modify routines as your symptoms fluctuate.
  • How to both exercise and take your MS medications properly for best results (especially if you are taking antispasmodic medications).
  • How to manage symptoms such as heat sensitivity, poor balance, fatigue, muscle weakness, or muscle spasms.
  • How to modify exercises, especially if your symptoms cause muscle weakness or lack of coordination on one side of your body.
  • How to exercise at more challenging levels safely.
  • How to warm-up properly: Take 5 to 8 minutes to warm up and stretch before exercise. Warm-ups start blood flowing freely to muscles and set the stage for the greatest benefits from exercise. Stretching helps ligaments, tendons, and muscles to lengthen; helps maintain flexibility and range of motion; eases muscle soreness; helps prevent injuries; and shortens the time needed to recover from injuries.

Keep in mind that your warm-up should use the muscles you will be using during your workout, and should also include flexibility or stretching exercises. Think of your warm-up as a slower version of what you will be doing during exercise. For example, if you will be walking briskly, warm up with a slow walk first.

After your warm-up activity (the slow walk) you should do some stretching exercises. Be sure to choose flexibility exercises that stretch the primary muscles you will be using as you exercise.

And one last caution...exercise is fun, but make sure you don't overdo it! Doing too much too fast can lead to fatigue and an increased risk of injury. Start slowly and exercise a little longer at each session. If you exercise more slowly at the beginning, you might achieve more benefits in the end.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. 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-Benefits

How to Make Exercising Easier

To help find a fitness routine that fits into your schedule and doesn't cause excess fatigue, consider the following suggestions:

  • Choose a community center or recreation facility in your neighborhood, to avoid extra efforts from the commute.
  • Avoid exercising in overheated environments. Check locker room temperature and humidity, and ask about the pool temperature: the ideal water temperature is between 80 and 84 degrees.
  • Step with care: look for non-slip floors in locker rooms and around pools, grab rails in pools and shower areas and pool lifts if needed.
  • Learn how to monitor your heart rate and breathing rate and stay within your appropriate heart rate target range.
  • Always wear rubber-soled nylon or plastic water shoes or sandals on the wet floors of locker rooms and pool areas.
  • Don't hesitate to lean against a wall or use a chair for support in stretching, yoga, or aerobics classes.
  • When working to improve balance, have someone standing nearby for protection.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. 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-Benefits

Manage Fatigue with Exercise

Some people with MS feel frequently tired or lethargic. But feeling fatigued doesn't have to limit your fun with and benefits from exercise. Read on for helpful tips on conserving energy while exercising:

  • Rest up! Get enough sleep the night before engaging in sports or taking a class. If you usually need 7 or 8 hours to feel rested, go to bed an hour earlier if you're exercising the next day. Also, take a 15-minute nap a few hours before doing any demanding exercise.
  • Coordinate your exercise routine with your body rhythms and energy levels. For example, if you feel most energetic in the morning, attend an exercise class or go walking 2 - 3 hours after breakfast. Alternate more demanding exercise with activity requiring less.
  • Talk with exercise instructors about your condition and your symptoms before starting a new class. Let them know that you might need to stop frequently to rest. An instructor may be able to recommend certain activities best suited to your ability.
  • If you feel too tired to exercise, commit to moderate exercise only for 2 - 3 minutes. Once you start, you may feel increased energy to keep going. If you still feel tired, make sure you stop and rest.
  • If you're energy starts to fade, take a 15-minute break to recharge. Lie or sit with your eyes closed, and breathe slowly and deeply.
  • Keep cool and drink at least two litres of water each day (or eight 8-ounce glasses). Excessive body heat can lead to increased fatigue, as well as weakness and other MS symptoms such as blurred vision. For people with MS who are heat-sensitive, keeping cool is essential.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. 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-Benefits