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Best Ways to Exercise with MS

February 19, 2016

Assuming it is not out of the question, any MS patient can benefit from exercise. The physical aspect is obvious--keeping weight down, building strength and looking better are all great positive. However, it is often the mental aspect that the patient will gain from--the feeling of accomplishing something, the feeling of looking in the mirror and seeing progress. Even some guilt free eating!

Everyone has the things they enjoy and don’t enjoy doing, so here are a few suggestions on how to stay in shape and keep a high quality of life. As always be sure to check with your doctor and be sure the activities you are participating in are safe for you.

Yoga – Yoga is a great way to limit symptoms and get in touch with your spiritual side. Abdominal breathing is utilized during these sessions which can help improve your breathing even when you are not in the yoga studio. This will help your blood circulate as well which is great for a patient’s cardiac health.

Aquatic Exercise- No matter a patient’s condition, water workouts can usually do wonders. One does not have to be an adept swimmer to participate either. These activities improve flexibility, range of motion, balance and improve on fatigue.

Martial Arts- Martial Arts tend to be less stressful on the body but they are known to promote numerous characteristics that benefit an MS Patient. A few examples: balance, muscle tone, core strength, relaxation, fatigue reduction and even memory.

Cycling/Spin: High intensity exercises such as bike riding or spin class can be great for MS patients, especially ones who have grown accustomed to a sedentary lifestyle. A recent study found that a group of patients that took a 12-week “high intensity” program saw an increase in mean muscle fiber and overall strength and a decrease in body fat percentage.

Team Sports- There are all kinds of leagues available for any skill level in any sport, whether it be baseball, softball basketball, tennis, etc. If you participated prior to your diagnosis, you will find yourself smiling at the feeling of normalcy you will get from being out there. While obviously being a great boost to your physical nature, the part-of-a-team mentality will be the greatest benefit in my opinion.