Physical activity can provide benefits
Though it might seem like exercising when you have multiple sclerosis (MS) is an oxymoron, even a small amount of physical activity can provide great benefits. In addition to being essential to overall well-being, exercise may even ease symptoms, and it could help you stay mobile longer than if you are inactive. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist before starting an exercise program because your workouts should be determined by your fitness level. If you don’t have balance problems and you’re able to ride a bike or run, you should. Here are options if you can’t hit the pavement:
Stretching. MS patients tend to lose range in motion in their limbs as muscles freeze. Stretching your arms and legs every day will help keep them moving.
Yoga. Downward facing dog and the lotus position help relax muscles and keep them flexible. Yoga is also good for maintaining balance. Tai chi’s slow, deliberate movements are another excellent choice for building muscle tone and increasing flexibility. Choose classes for people with disabilities.
Water exercises. Swimming and water aerobics are particularly good for MS patients, especially if your disease is causing increased sensitivity to temperature. And some movements that you’re unable to do out of water are possible in water, where your body is weightless.
Stationary bike. Can’t ride in the next BikeMS event? You can make use of a stationary bike. One study showed stationary bike participants reported improvement in their fatigue symptoms.
Resistance bands. Use resistance bands to duplicate exercises normally performed with barbells. Bands can also be used to assist with stretching.
Though multiple sclerosis may mean a change in physical activity and mobility, it doesn’t mean your life has to stall. If you can no longer continue activities you used to enjoy, talk to your doctor about new ways to stay active or about ways to make your old favorite activities more accessible.