Exercise is a key component to improve health, fitness and functionality for people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis or MS. According to the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, "MS is the most common neurological disease diagnosed in young adults." Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system in which damage to the insulation surrounding the nerves, called myelin, occurs. Symptoms of MS include fatigue, visual disturbances, numbness, weakness, spasticity, pain, and tremors. The combination of exercise with adequate nutrition are useful in the management of MS symptoms.
Always consult your GP before starting an exercise regimen. When starting an exercise program, always ask a trained professional to help you develop and supervise your routine to ensure that you are working at the correct level and that you perform the exercises correctly. Doing too much in a short time and with the wrong technique leads to injuries, poor results and frustration. If one exercise does not feel good or causes pain or other negative symptoms, skip that exercise and continue with the next one.
Look for various types of exercises that you enjoy and perform consistently and correctly. Choices include yoga, tai chi, pilates, weights, swimming, hiking, jumping mini-trampoline, GYROTONIC, stretching, cycling, tennis, running, calisthenics, range-of-motion movements, horseback riding, dancing and many more. Doing an exercise with a friend or a group increases fun and enthusiasm. The author Allison Shadday, LCSW, states: "Exercise has been shown to produce an increase in endorphins, which can make us feel less depressed."
Adjust the exercise according to your current physical and health status, needs and objectives. Newly diagnosed or with minimal or no physical symptoms should continue to exercise as they did before being diagnosed. Those in wheelchairs can exercise their upper bodies with stretches, exercise bands and weights. The objective of the exercise is to increase your health, physical condition and functionality by working a little beyond your current capabilities. Fatigue is a common symptom of MS, so it is necessary to find the right balance between energy to make the effort to complete the exercise and not fatigue you completely.
Heat decreases nerve conduction and may cause symptoms of MS. If you exercise outdoors, do it early in the morning or late at night to avoid exposure to high temperatures during peak sun hours.If you train indoors, stay cool by using an air conditioner or fan. Exercising in the pool is ideal for staying cool. For best results, MS expert and author Maryann B. Hunsberger recommends "keeping the water no hotter than 82 degrees Fahrenheit." Drinking cold water before, during and after training helps prevent overheating and dehydration. A cold bath or shower after exercising also helps keep your body cool.
The benefits of exercise include increasing flexibility, strengthening the cardiovascular system, strengthening the musculoskeletal system, promoting better sleep and reducing stress. All good exercise programs should include an appropriate mix of strength training, endurance and flexibility. Having a strong grip helps prevent tripping and falling objects, therefore training the grip is an important aspect of all exercise routines.