Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of unknown cause. MS is characterised by the formation of areas of demyelination (plaques) throughout the brain and spinal cord that comprise the central nervous system (CNS). The direct damage to the CNS results in slow or interrupted transmission of nerve impulses and causes a varied and wide range of symptoms.

 

Symptoms include physical and cognitive disability, extreme fatigue, temperature sensitivity, and depression. Reports indicate that physical inactivity is a major concern for people with MS as they cannot participate as they would like to.

multiple sclerosis

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO EXERCISE

 

Many of the symptoms associated with MS are reduced through physical activity or exercise. Exercise is a great way for everyone to stay strong, control weight, improve fitness, and ward off chronic diseases such as heart disease. While managing the consequences of MS, exercise represents a crucial tool and is an important approach for improving health and wellness. Unfortunately, inactivity invites consequences such as fatigue, poor strength and poor fitness. If someone is feeling fatigued, they might be less likely to exercise, and as a result, they will have even more fatigue over time. Being inactive also raises the risk of developing other chronic health conditions. If you remain inactive, alongside MS, you might develop heart disease or diabetes too.

TYPES OF EXERCISE RECOMMENDED

 

Always first seek advice from an accredited exercise physiologist.

 

To be effective, exercise should be performed regularly at a suitable intensity. Most importantly, choose exercise that you enjoy as you will be more likely to stick with it! The internationally recognised physical activity guidelines for adults with mild to moderate MS tell us how much physical activity people with MS are encouraged to participate in.

 

To maintain health, individuals with endometriosis should aim for:

 

AEROBIC EXERCISE
» Can be performed in a variety of settings including individual and group training sessions on land or in water.
» Walking is the number one choice of aerobic exercise by persons with MS, and walking intensity can be measured by counting your steps over a period of time (e.g. by using a pedometer or smart phone/watch).
» Use of exercise bikes and elliptical trainers is preferable to the use of a treadmill when there is a risk of tripping and falls.

Our advice is to start small and see how you go. How fast can you already walk? How long can you walk for? Build this up to achieve your 30 minutes of aerobic exercise. Walking 100 steps in a minute is moderate intensity aerobic exercise for persons with MS. But remember, something is always better than nothing and don’t be disheartened if you’re not meeting the recommendations straight away. Rome wasn’t built in a day!

 

STRENGTHENING EXERCISES
» Can be performed in a variety of settings including home, community centre or gym.
» Can be performed with resistance or machine weights; body weight, resistance bands, or water.
» Progressive resistance with heavier weights and low repetitions is beneficial.
» Frequent rest breaks and alternating muscle groups during training helps minimise fatigue.
» All exercises can be modified by a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist to suit your ability.

 

STRETCHING & BALANCE EXERCISES
» Can be helpful to improve posture and flexibility.
» Can be performed on most days of the week.
» Stretching exercises can be performed using gravity or resistance bands.
» Balance exercises can be performed by challenging one normal sitting and standing posture.
» All exercises can be modified by an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist to suit your ability.

 

 

FIND A PROFESSIONAL TO HELP YOU EXERCISE RIGHT