Living an active lifestyle is important for individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) as it can help manage symptoms, improve overall well-being, and maintain physical function.
Regular physical activity can help manage the symptoms associated with MS, such as fatigue, muscle weakness, spasticity, and balance issues. It has been shown to reduce fatigue and improve mood, leading to an overall enhanced sense of well-being. By engaging in regular exercise, individuals with MS can preserve and improve their physical function, including muscle strength, flexibility, and endurance.
What Are Some Activities?
Aerobic exercises, like walking or cycling, can improve cardiovascular fitness and reduce the risk of heart disease. Balance and coordination can be affected by MS, increasing the risk of falls. However, participating in activities that promote balance and coordination, such as yoga or tai chi, can enhance stability and reduce the risk of falls.
Regular physical activity also supports cognitive function, as it has been associated with improved memory, attention, and processing speed. Additionally, exercise can help manage weight, improve body composition, and promote a healthier overall body composition.
Include strength training exercises to improve muscle strength and tone. Work with a physical therapist or fitness professional to develop a safe and effective strength training program. Focus on major muscle groups, using resistance bands, free weights, or weight machines.
The social aspect of staying active is also beneficial, as it provides opportunities for social interaction, participation in group exercise classes, and joining support groups. This social connection can positively impact mental well-being and help individuals cope with the challenges of living with MS.
Be Sure to Stay Safe
Be adaptable as needed if certain exercises or movements are challenging due to MS symptoms. Adapt them to your abilities. For example, use assistive devices, modify the range of motion, or try seated exercises if necessary.
Start with realistic goals and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your activities. It is important that you listen to your body and know your limits. Pay attention to how your body feels during and after exercise. If you experience excessive fatigue, pain, or worsening of symptoms, adjust the intensity or take breaks as needed. It’s essential to strike a balance between staying active and allowing for proper rest and recovery.
Be sure to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise to stay hydrated, as MS can increase sensitivity to heat. Incorporate foods high in water content as an added benefit.
Ultimately, staying active can increase resilience, enhance the quality of life, and empower individuals to feel in control of their health and well-being. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any exercise regimen, preferably one experienced in working with MS patients. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific condition and abilities.