Activity and Multiple Sclerosis
- by Linda T.
- September 18, 2017
Linda T. is a paid employee of Teva Neuroscience, Inc.
Why is it good to develop a plan for activity with MS? Exercise is a great way to help manage your MS symptoms. According to the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, studies have indicated that individuals with MS who exercise may experience the following results:
- Improved strength
- Reduced pain
- Less stress
- Improved mood
- Greater endurance
Finding ways to stay active can seem like a challenge, and MS symptoms may impact what type of exercise you can do. Still, it is important not to focus on what you can’t do but rather to focus on discovering what you can do.
One of the first things in developing an exercise program is to talk to your doctor to see what guidelines he or she recommends based on your particular health issues. Your health care provider may make recommendations about what kinds of exercises are most appropriate for you, as well as the ones you should avoid. For some individuals, a health care provider may recommend a physical therapy evaluation before making any recommendations. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society created a brochure on ways to incorporate exercise into your daily life that may be helpful once you and your health care provider agree on an exercise plan.
Any exercise routine can become tedious over time, so it is important to find a routine that you enjoy. For some, having a support network or an accountability partner will help keep them motivated to stay the course. Exercising with someone can increase the fun, as well as keep you on track with your fitness goals. Work with your health care provider to determine which activities are right for you.
There are many ways MS patients can stay active. Exercise doesn’t have to be intense to be beneficial. There are many forms of physical activity such as yoga, swimming, pool exercises or tai chi that can be incorporated into your daily life. This NMSS article has links to a variety of adaptive exercise options for those with physical limitations. Teva also put together a few tips on light exercises for those living with relapsing MS. Just remember, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning an exercise program.
You also can incorporate informal exercise into your daily routine. Try taking the stairs occasionally, stretching while watching television, or taking a leisurely stroll. If you spend most of your day at a desk, take breaks occasionally to stretch and walk around the office. Cooking and gardening are other types of informal exercise. If you enjoy cooking, we’ve included a few of our favorite recipes in the By the Bite blog series that you may enjoy, like hummus or a veggie quiche.
With MS, it is important to avoid becoming overheated when you exercise. Even a slight rise in core body temperature can trigger temporary symptoms. To prevent becoming overheated you can:
- Exercise indoors in spaces that are air-conditioned
- Exercise during the cooler times of the day
- Wear a personal cooling device such as a vest or neck wrap
- Wear lightweight, loose clothing
- Drink plenty of cool fluids
- Read tips to stay cool in the summer heat
Be proud of your choice to stay active! Once you’ve consulted your health care provider, start out gradually and find an activity that you enjoy. When it comes to physical activity, small changes to your daily routine can result in positive changes in your health.
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Shared Solutions® Nurse
About The Author
Linda T., RN, is an MS Certified Nurse who works at Teva’s Shared Solutions®. She has specialized in multiple sclerosis for 12 years and has 38 years of nursing experience.
COPAXONE® (glatiramer acetate injection) is a prescription medicine that is used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), to include clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, in adults.
Do not use COPAXONE® if you are allergic to glatiramer acetate or mannitol.