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Multiple sclerosis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects millions of people worldwide, causing a wide range of symptoms that impact the body's overall performance and functionality. Thankfully, there are numerous drug-based and natural approaches to managing MS and its symptoms. Among the highly recommended treatment methods is physical therapy. Exercise and physiotherapy have been found to improve individual outcomes in many cases of multiple sclerosis. However, it's important for MS patients to begin physical activities and treatments under the guidance of a professional and with the recommendation of a doctor.

In this article, we'll provide an overview of how exercise can impact patients with multiple sclerosis and suggest some of the best exercises for MS patients.

Multiple Sclerosis Exercise

Is Exercise Good Or Bad For MS?

Multiple sclerosis patients often experience symptoms like fatigue, poor coordination, and weakness, which can make exercise challenging. However, the benefits of physical activity for MS patients should not be overlooked. Regular exercise can help improve strength and energy levels, enhance balance, reduce spasms and muscle-related symptoms, and improve bladder and bowel control.

MS patients should approach exercise with caution and moderation to avoid adverse side effects like injuries, severe fatigue, and increased symptoms. Some adverse side effects of intense workouts may range from blurred vision and numbness throughout the body, to increased body temperature. It is recommended that MS patients consult with a doctor before starting a workout regimen to help manage their symptoms.

When starting a new exercise routine, it's recommended for MS patients to consult an exercise physiologist for a customised exercise plan tailored to their specific needs and capabilities. An exercise physiologist can help create a proper routine and assist patients when they experience difficulties during physical activity.

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, exercise can also have positive effects on mood and quality of life in MS patients.

Studies have found that exercise can reduce symptoms such as depression and anxiety, and can improve overall quality of life. Resistance training, yoga, aquatic exercise, and balance training are all recommended exercises for MS patients. MS patients should work with healthcare professionals to develop a safe and effective exercise program that can be adjusted over time as symptoms change.

Man in Wheelchair With MS Doing Resistance Training Exercise

Benefits of Exercise For Multiple Sclerosis

Physical activity and exercise are not only beneficial for healthy individuals but also for those suffering from illnesses. Exercise can provide a major improvement to overall health and the human body. For patients with multiple sclerosis, exercise has been shown to have numerous benefits. Studies have proven that inactivity in MS patients can result in an increase in symptoms and additional health issues. These health issues may include but are not limited to coronary heart disease, weak muscles, breathing and respiratory problems, and low bone density.

Some common benefits of exercise for people with multiple sclerosis include:

  • Overall improved health and better feedback from check-ups and doctor appointments

  • Enhanced cardiovascular fitness and increased strength levels

  • Improved attitude and overall mental health

  • Decrease in incidents of fatigue and depression

  • Increased positivity and better attitude

  • Increased energy to participate in social activities with family and friends

  • Increased flexibility

  • Better brain activity and cognitive functions

Exercise can also improve symptoms in other diseases such as Parkinson's disease. Therefore, incorporating regular exercise into daily life can have numerous benefits for patients with multiple sclerosis and other chronic illnesses.

When it comes to exercise for multiple sclerosis patients, it's important to choose a workout regimen that is customised to their abilities. Overworking the body can have adverse effects, so moderation and a specified routine are key. Workouts should be timed and monitored to avoid overexertion, and patients should consider changing the intensity level and frequency of their routine if they experience fatigue for more than two hours after exercise.

There are many exercise regimens generally recommended for MS patients, but the best exercises will depend on the patient's specific symptoms and experiences. Some recommended exercises for multiple sclerosis patients include:

  • Yoga: Low or high-intensity stretching exercises

  • Tai Chi: Energy-focused workouts that can be low or high intensity depending on ability

  • Aquatics: Water workouts that can help with movement

  • Cycling: Monitored aerobics

  • Balance training: Helps with cognitive functioning and bone density

  • Gardening and Boating: Regular activities within the home and outside the home

When choosing activities for MS patients, it's important to consider whether the exercise or physical activity is enjoyable and modified for the patient's physical ability. It's also important to take an integrated approach when creating a workout regimen. Consider splitting the workout into five components to increase productivity and effectiveness: cardiovascular, endurance and strength, flexibility, balance, and relaxation. Finally, remember that the cooldown and stretching aspects of the workout are just as important as the strength and cardio elements.

water aerobics for multiple sclerosis MS

Multiple Sclerosis Stress Triggers

Stress can be a trigger for many diseases and disorders, including multiple sclerosis. High stress levels can have negative effects on the body, and studies have shown that emotional stress may trigger some of the common symptoms associated with MS. Although stress cannot be directly stated as the cause of multiple sclerosis, it can activate a negative reaction from the immune system which triggers an inflammatory reaction and ultimately leads to flares in symptoms of MS.

One of the main benefits of exercise for MS patients is a reduction in stress levels in people who are consistently active. By incorporating regular exercise into their daily routine, patients with MS can improve their overall well-being and reduce the risk of stress-related symptoms.

At Full Circle Wellness, patients can make an appointment with an exercise physiologist to increase their daily activity and receive positive benefits for their MS symptoms. Incorporating exercise into their routine can be highly beneficial for patients with multiple sclerosis, not just for reducing stress, but also for improving physical function and reducing the risk of health issues associated with inactivity.

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