Exercise may help build strength and improve your mood. If you’re living with multiple sclerosis (MS), you may wonder if you have enough energy, stamina, or coordination to be active. Fortunately, there are many different ways to move.
Things like walking to the bus stop or performing household chores count as exercise, too. Getting in as little as 30 minutes a day can help you enjoy the benefits of exercise. It may be challenging at times, but stick with it. Before starting an exercise regimen, make sure to talk to your healthcare provider.
Exercise may help manage MS symptoms by:
- Improving bowel and bladder function
- Reducing depression
- Improving posture and balance.
There are many ways to get regular physical activity. Here are a few examples:
- Aerobic exercise
This includes any activity that strengthens your heart and lungs, including brisk walking, biking, and running.
You get a low-impact aerobic workout, as well as the benefits of being in water. The water can help keep your body cool and comfortable, and buoyancy may help muscles attain a greater range of motion.
Suitable for a variety of fitness levels, yoga can help build strength, endurance, and flexibility.
The focus here is correct body alignment, coordination, and muscle tone. Exercises are non-impact, non-weight-bearing activities and are often performed lying down.
- Tai Chi
A gentle physical exercise, Tai Chi involves more than 100 postures and movements. Suitable for various fitness levels, it can be performed sitting or standing.
- Balance exercises
Using exercise balls, balance boards, and therapeutic balls can help improve stability. A physical therapist, or other healthcare provider, should guide you in these exercises.
Always exercise safely. Try to warm up your body before and cool down after. Remember to “listen to your body.” If you start to hurt or feel sick, stop and take a break. And with MS, it’s important to keep cool. Some people may notice that some MS symptoms reappear or become worse when their body heat rises. Stay out of excessive direct sunlight, stay hydrated, and consider swimming (it’s a great way to stay fit and keep cool). Your healthcare provider may have more tips to help you deal with the heat.