“Exercise is Essential”
June 11, 2014
There is finally much positive buzz about how essential exercising is for people with MS: Overall health: stress reduction; weight control; improving fatigue (yes!), endurance, strength; improving symptoms like balance & coordination, insomnia–the list is long.
A recent article in Neurology Now magazine states:
Exercise is a struggle for most of us, but more so for those who live with neurologic disabilities and physical limitations. In addition to the usual barriers of motivation and time, people with disabilities face extra challenges such as finding the right equipment and facilities. It’s no surprise then that they are significantly more likely to be sedentary than people without disabilities, increasing their risk of chronic health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
“People who have had a stroke or traumatic brain injury or been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis or another chronic neurologic disease get even more debilitated when they sit around,” says Michael J. Reding, M.D., the former director of stroke rehabilitation at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains, NY. “Inactivity can make other problems, such as osteoporosis, constipation, and pressure sores, worse. The more mobile and active a person is, the greater their sense of well-being and life satisfaction and the easier it is for caregivers,” Dr. Reding says. http://bit.ly/UsjEqm
In addition, Founder: DaveBexfield, ActiveMSers.org has this to offer: “If folks are interested in the research behind exercise and MS, I’ve collected the abstracts of most of the studies released in the past five years. Virtually all are positive.” http://activemsers.wssnoc.net/tags.php?tag=exercise+study
Nowadays, there is also an overabundance of information available to explain which ones to do and how to do them–most in a piecemeal fashion and often confusing. There are classes offered by places like MS organizations and health clubs to attend. All with the caveat to talk to your health professional first about what is right for you.
But many people with MS would like to do it alone, in the comfort of their home. Often the unpredictability of MS will dictate how long or what types of exercises can be done on a particular day. Transportation, time issues and how you feel when you wake are also realistic obstacles to going out for an exercise program. Let’s face it, sometimes making arrangements, getting dressed and going out can be exhausting even before you get started with a planned exercise activity.
I have four sets of exercise programs with explanations and diagrams that a MSer can do:
• Stretching Exercises
• Balance and Coordination Exercises
• Home Exercise Program
• Lower Extremity Exercises
Here is the link where the “How-To Charts” can be found and viewed http://debbiems.com/links-resources_271.html . If you already exercise, there may be some additional tools in these charts for your arsenal.
The sources of these diagrams are credible, acquired from Banner Hospital and the National MS Society. They were designed by physical therapists for persons with MS. So many of these exercises can be done while sitting at a desk, watching TV, talking on the phone, or standing at the sink; there is no need to set a block of time aside to do a structured regime every day.
Let common sense prevail when starting/maintaining an exercising program. Always start with warm-ups and let your body guide you with regard to length of time, # of repetitions, etc. Start slowly, build up over time, and stop when you start feeling tired, heated, or doing something that causes pain.
The following are some excellent articles to read about Exercising and MS:
1. “Exercising Your Options” (Benefits of Exercise) InforMS: Rocky Mountain MS Ctr. http://bit.ly/SCXbov
2. “Exercise for Everyone” (Creative Ways to Stay Fit) Neurology Now Magazine http://bit.ly/UsjEqm
3. “Keep Moving” (Tips to enjoy favorite summer activities.) NMSS Momentum http://www.momentummagazineonline.com/keep-moving-ms-2/
4. “MS Exercises and Guidelines” http://blog.debbiems.com/?p=128
If you don’t exercise, it is imperative that you start today! With these how-to diagrams, you can pick and choose what is right for you.
Author, MS Counselor, Living with MS