Many of the symptoms associated with MS can be reduced through exercise.
How can exercise help someone newly diagnosed with MS?
When you are initially diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), exercise may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it should be high on your list!
Historically, exercise for people with MS has been perceived poorly. This is due to the belief that exercise could worsen symptoms and potentially progress the disease itself. However, there is strong evidence to show that this is not the case. Research demonstrates that regular exercise is important in the management of MS as it improves cardiovascular health, motor control, strength and endurance as well as managing fatigue and stabilising mood. Despite the evidence supporting the many benefits of physical activity and exercise, 80% of people living with MS do not meet the recommended physical activity guidelines.
Why are 80% of people with MS inactive?
People living with MS experience a wide range of symptoms; fatigue being one of the most common.
8 out of 10 people with MS report that fatigue is their primary symptom.
It is therefore not surprising that people find it difficult to be physically active. Muscle weakness, spasticity, sensory changes, heat sensitivity, pain, mobility and cognitive changes also limit motivation to be physically active. While these symptoms may hold people back from getting started, a tailored approach to exercise and physical activity can help manage symptoms.
Exercise is good for all of us!
Not only does exercise help to improve cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength, but there is also more and more evidence to support the neuro-protective and neuro-regenerative benefits.
Individualised exercise prescription that is specific, challenging and high in intensity is suggested to counteract the decline in the central nervous system. Furthermore, exercise can reduce the severity of symptom presentation and physical decline as well as improve overall quality of life.
I’ve just been diagnosed, when do I start?
The best time to start is now! An Accredited Exercise Physiologist can help by prescribing exercises that are going to benefit you without exacerbating symptoms.
If you, or someone you love has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, encourage them to see an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and learn how to exercise right for their condition.
Contact Bodytrack Exercise Physiology to get started.
Find more great resources for MS at MS Australia.