Top 9 Multiple Sclerosis Physical Exercise

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a long-term illness that affects the central nervous system. It has been estimated that 2% and 4% of people with MS develop symptoms related to strength or endurance deficits. If you have multiple sclerosis, physical exercise can help improve your quality of life. 

This is done by maintaining muscle strength, endurance, and speed, improving balance; reducing pain; and preventing falls. Preventing indirect fatigue has also been reported to help in managing the condition, according to certain studies.

Benefits of Multiple Sclerosis Physical Exercise 

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There are many advantages to exercising, but one of the reasons health professionals advise physical activity for MS patients is continued mobility. Some evidence supports that exercise helps to maintain function and improve functionality

In fact, there is proof that exercising can assist in lessening inflammation in the CNS. To help you manage your symptoms, exercise can also improve your mood and decrease fatigue. 

Multiple sclerosis physical exercise increases endorphins in the brain and releases other hormones that make you feel good. This can reduce stress levels and increase your general energy. You may find yourself feeling more optimistic about life as a result of regular exercise.

1. Aerobic Exercise

This is an activity that gets your heart pumping. Aerobic exercises can be anything from walking to swimming and even playing sports. Studies have shown that aerobic exercise can be one of the most successful ways to decrease MS symptoms like pain and indirect fatigue

Another excellent option for aerobic exercise is cycling because it helps ease leg spasticity. If group fitness classes are more your thing, choose something low-impact, like water aerobics.

Aerobic exercises have also been shown to help manage weight gain or loss, improve balance and prevent falls in people with MS. They may also help you feel more energized during daily activities or even boost your mood.

2. Neuromotor Exercises

Training for neuromotor exercises combines a variety of motor abilities, such as:

  • Balance
  • Coordination
  • Walking
  • Agility
  • Proprioception
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Postural stability

Preventing falls and enhancing or maintaining independence in the movement are the objectives of MS patients. Neuromotor exercises are designed to improve the coordination of your muscles and nerves, and that’s why they’re ideal. They help you improve your functionality, balance, movement, strength, and endurance.

Neuromotor exercises can be done at home with no equipment, or they may be done in a gym setting with specialized equipment such as exercise balls or balancing boards.

3. Stretching

A great way to improve flexibility and reduce muscle stiffness, pain, and fatigue is stretching. It can benefit people with multiple sclerosis since it increases the range of motion, improves flexibility, and decreases spasticity. A good way to do this is to stretch your arms and legs as if you were stretching out a rubber band while standing at attention. 

Make sure you keep your joints open while doing this exercise. If they lock out accidentally, try again until they don’t anymore. It might take a few tries in advancing MS or depending on how stiff your muscles are. Try stretching out one limb at a time while holding onto something sturdy behind you for balance.

Stretching can be categorized as either dynamic or static. Warming the body before exercising is best accomplished with dynamic or movement-based stretches like walking kicks or alternate knee hugs. 

Static stretching, which involves holding stretches for more than 20 seconds, can help you maintain or enhance your flexibility and range of motion. If the body is already warmed up, these stretches can be used as a cool-down alternative.

4. Core Strengthening 

For MS patients, core strength is crucial since it improves stability, coordination, gait, and general balance. Core muscles are responsible for supporting your spine and keeping it in line, which means they’re important for maintaining good posture and preventing injury. Good core muscles can also help prevent back pain and improve athletic performance.

Planks and Russian twists are two instances of exercises that help bolster the core muscles in the back, obliques, and abdominals. These exercises can be done at home but require a trainer’s assistance. You can incorporate these into your routine a couple of times per week.

5. Upper-Body Strengthening 

Try doing bicep curls, rows, and pull-downs to work out major muscle groups in your upper body. You can do these exercises at home or in a gym. Suppose you want to exercise more than one muscle group at a time; it’s best to use machines that limit the weight you can lift. 

To find these machines at most gyms, look for machines that say “weight stack” on them (this means they have slots where weights can be added).

6. Lower-Body Strengthening 

Lower-body strength is important for multiple sclerosis patients. The lower body comprises the hips, thighs, knees, and ankles. You use the part of your body to walk and move around. To strengthen the lower body, try the following:

  • Lunges: Step forward with one foot while keeping your back straight.
  • Squats: Sit on a chair or bench with knees bent to 90 degrees, then squat down until thighs are parallel to the floor; hold for five seconds.
  • Leg presses: Using gym equipment or a simple band adaptation workout.

7. T’ai Chi

This is a form of martial art exercise that combines physical movements with deep breathing and relaxation techniques. With Tai Chi, you transition seamlessly (and at your own pace) from one stance to the next. There are different forms of Tai Chi, much like yoga. 

The exercise can be performed in any place without any special equipment, and it makes you happier and more flexible. Because Tai Chi emphasizes posture control with its gradual movements, it might help you improve your balance. Numerous studies have revealed that MS persons who practiced Tai Chi reduced their chance of falling. 

The benefits of T’ai Chi include:

  • Improving balance, coordination, and flexibility
  • Boosting energy levels for those who are physically active all day long
  • Reducing stress by reducing the amount of cortisol in your body

8. Pilates Exercise 

This is a type of exercise that emphasizes core strength and flexibility. It can be done at home or in a studio. It is a great way to build strength, stability, and balance. 

Pilates also helps improve posture, flexibility, and balance by building up the muscles that support your spine and those around it.

9. Yoga

This form of exercise is a long-standing tradition that roots primarily in India. It blends movement with breathing and can be physically demanding or very soothing (like restorative yoga or power yoga). 

Yoga is regarded as a stretching routine for an MS exercise program. It would help if you practiced yoga daily to expand your range of motion, improve balance, and relieve muscle spasms. 

Yoga can also be modified for MS patients who cannot walk by practicing a chair yoga technique. It is a great way to exercise, especially if you have MS. Also, it can help you with your balance, flexibility, and strength.

Tips for Working Out With Multiple Sclerosis

Do Your Research

Regardless of the type of multiple sclerosis exercise you choose to do, a good rule of thumb is that it should be safe for people with MS to participate in. If you have questions about whether or not an activity is appropriate for you, talk to your doctor or physical therapist first.

Ask for Help from a Physical Therapist

A qualified professional can assess your fitness level and help determine what level of exercise would be best suited for someone with multiple sclerosis. 

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This can include recommending how often they should work out, what exercises they should do at those times, and even how long each session should last so that you don’t overdo it. 

They also help you figure out the best diet with multiple sclerosis to help you adjust better.

Allow Your Body to Rest if Necessary

You can still exercise safely if you’re tired or experiencing other minor symptoms. However, there are occasions when a break is necessary. For instance, MS sufferers can experience “pseudo-relapses” in which they also have a fever and MS symptoms. You risk injuring yourself when you exercise when unwell or experiencing specific MS symptoms like muscle spasms.

Find a Workout Partner

A partner offers camaraderie and accountability. This could be a friend, colleague, family member, child, or support group member.

Conclusion

The most crucial thing to remember is that exercise is not a cure for MS but can help manage the symptoms and improve your overall quality of life. It also helps prevent exacerbations of symptoms. The most effective type of exercise will vary from patient to patient. Finding an activity you enjoy that makes you feel better about yourself is important.

If you’d want to discover more about how exercise may benefit you, consult your doctor or physical therapist. You can join the growing community at Special Strong by finding a branch near you to get access to a free 7-day pass

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