These MS exercise tips have been shared by Dr. Monica Marta, neurologist and multiple sclerosis researcher from Portugal and can be watched on YouTube:
Exercise and Multiple Sclerosis – Top 10 Tips
We have compiled the tips for our readers below, so you can read them at your convenience.
According to Dr. Monica Marta, there is very strong evidence of the benefits of exercise for people with MS. Multiple Sclerosis Patients show improvement in cardio and respiratory function, which means your lungs and heart function better. Regular exercise also improves muscle strength and it improves flexibility, as well as mobility in general. Here are 10 tips of the benefits of exercise for MS patients:
1. Helps them Keep Active
MS patients should try to stay active overall. Whatever you do, keep active in your daily routine.
2. Great Exercises for MS patients
The best exercise for MS patients is swimming. Swimming has very few risks of injury, so it is safe for MSers. It also keeps the body temperature cool as heat sensitivity and heat intolerance can cause problems for MS patients when exercising.
Nordic walking is becoming popular in the UK and European countries, because you can do it outside with a group and you engage your upper body and not just your lower body. And because you are using sticks in Nordic walking, it is okay for patients who have balance problems to do it.
Although not tested and researched on MS patients specifically, it has been tested for patients with cognitive problems. Dancing has shown to be beneficial in mood enhancing and cognition, especially when you are learning new things and rhythms in dancing and not just moving around. It is quite good.
3. Start slowly and keep it regular
Another very important thing to keep in mind is to start slowly. Don’t just go and start doing what everyone else is doing. Start slowly, build up gradually. Start with just a few minutes on day 1, build up during the week. You can repeat the exercises 3, 4, 5 times a week, doesn’t matter. Keep it regular.
4. Exercise through an MS relapse
Should you exercise while you’re having a relapse? YES!
It is not detrimental, but you should keep in mind what the relapse is affecting. You also have to be careful and realize that your stamina during a relapse will be lowered, so make sure you don’t push yourself too much. But keep active.
5. Don’t push it!
If during exercise there are neurological symptoms that weren’t there before but became acute and appeared during exercise, that will happen because of heat, and that will happen because when you are exercising, you are demanding more from the nerve conduction, so there will be more work load on nerve conduction and there may be some types of nerves that were demyelinated and they could work at regular situation with normal heat, then they will sort of struggle to keep up if the heat is up. So you can have new symptoms while exercising. Don’t push it too hard.
And during a relapse, your threshold for stopping should be lower.
6. Train to conserve energy
Dr. Monica Marta learnt from an MS patient that what they had chosen was to go on a type of training that was long term training, to conserve energy. You are not training to be the fastest 400 meter swimmer, but you are training so that when you finish your 400 meters, you still have enough energy to go on a bike and do something else. So that kind of training, I would say, sounds to me like the most appropriate.
7. Warm-up, stretch and relax
Everyone should do the following things:
Warm-up and then stretching and then relaxation in the end.
So whatever you do, that’s something that you have to be more aware of. It’s different for everybody else.
And then another important thing, which is important for everybody is to avoid injury. So, if you are going to run, make sure you have proper running shoes. If you have balance problems, you have to train your balance, but be safe. Make sure you have somewhere to hold on to, if you need it… if your balance goes.
8. Incorporate exercise into your life
The other thing is that it’s important to incorporate exercise into your daily life because what’s changed significantly in the past 14 years is that our daily lives are more sedentary. So, use the staircase rather than the elevator, walk rather than take the bus when possible.
Another thing to think about is posture. We are really really bad at posture. We don’t learn how to sit, we don’t learn how to walk and if your balance starts to go and if you have weakness on one side, that’s something that causes more problem. So be conscious about your posture when you’re sitting. Some people find that walking in front of a mirror helps them to see what their posture is like. Some people find that some of these exercises have feedback on what kind of posture they have.
10. Manage your expectations
Manage your expectations. Don’t think that you are going to start and it is going to be easy or that you are going to have benefits in a month. So don’t feel that you have failed because 5 years ago you could run okay and now it’s difficult to run 500 meters. It’s not just the MS.
For more on exercise and MS, log on to http://shift.ms
You can watch the video by Dr. Monica Marta below.
Exercise and Multiple Sclerosis – Top 10 Tips by Dr. Monica Martahttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAbOKKtQytA
Posted by Society for Multiple Sclerosis Patients in Pakistan on Tuesday, July 14, 2015