MS Mondays: Exercise Hints and Benefits

I was feeling rather motivated yesterday and decided to try out Zumba. After stumbling over my feet for an hour, I worked up a pretty good sweat but the real effects of the workout didn’t hit me til today. It hurts to breathe. It hurts to laugh. It hurts to sit down. It hurts to stand up. Why would I subject myself to so much pain? Because I need to. Exercise is a good idea for everyone, and in addition to general health benefits, it can help alleviate MS symptoms and minimize future complications. According to EverydayHealth.com, regular exercise can help the following symptoms:

Fatigue
Being extra tired is a common complaint among people with multiple sclerosis. Exercise, including yoga, can help combat this. A recent study examined the fatigue levels of people living with multiple sclerosis; one group signed on for a yoga class geared to the needs of people with MS, a second group took a stationary-bicycling class, and a third group had no specific program given to them. At the end of the 6-month study, both the yoga and stationary bike participants reported improvement in their fatigue levels, while the third group who had no specific exercise program saw no improvement in their MS fatigue symptoms.

Bladder control
One of the pioneering studies on the role of exercise in people living with MS was done in 1996 by Jack Petajan, MD, a researcher who had multiple sclerosis himself. Dr. Petajan, who died in 2005, found that even moderate regular exercise helped to correct bladder control issues that are common in people with multiple sclerosis.

Stronger bones
Weight-bearing exercise is a good way to strengthen bones and protect against osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease. People with multiple sclerosis are at particular risk for osteoporosis due to a combination of factors. For one, levels of vitamin D — the nutrient that works with calcium to protect bone health — are typically low among people living with MS. Certain medications (such as corticosteroids) that are effective in the treatment of MS flare-ups can also lead to lower calcium levels. These lower levels of vitamin D and calcium make it harder for your body to retain bone density or strength. At the same time, people with multiple sclerosis often face mobility issues that make them more prone to falling, which can lead to broken bones.

(Source: http://www.everydayhealth.com/multiple-sclerosis/multiple-sclerosis-and-exercise.aspx)

Here are some great types of exercise that can help keep you active.

Yoga 

Traditional Lotus pose. Photo credit: http://www.santosha.com

Yoga is great for gaining flexibility and improving balance and posture. It can also help relax you and reduce stress. The National MS Society stresses that not all types of yoga are suited for everyone and you may need to ask questions to find the type that is right for you. The different types, however, all offer the follow benefits:

  • They use breathing techniques to focus the mind on the body (“union”)
  • They are individualized, non-competitive and adaptable
  • They emphasize alignment, which benefits posture and balance
  • They educate about where muscles are and how to strengthen and stretch them
  • They release tension so the body feels more energized
  • They teach relaxation techniques to reduce stress

(Source: National MS Society)

Tai Chi

Tai Chi instructor demonstrating basic Tai Chi movement. Photo credit: Shaolin Institute.www.shaolin-world.net

Tai Chi is also great for improving balance and reducing stress. According to the Tai Chi Network, “Tai Chi is characterized by soft, slow, flowing movements that emphasize force, rather than strength. Tai Chi focuses on coordination in relaxation, and is often considered “meditation in motion”.” Some practitioners of Tai Chi even offer Adaptive Tai Chi for people in wheelchairs. Visit the Tai Chi Network to see if there is one near you.

Aquatic Workouts

Community Integration Services in Bellevue, Washington offers aquatic programs designed for people with MS. http://www.cisaquatics.com/

Aquatic workouts are great for people with MS because they don’t cause stress to joints and they prevent you from overheating, thereby allowing you to workout longer! Many YMCAs and public pools offer classes. If you need help finding locations near you, contact your local MS Society chapter.

And now, here are two MS Monday Motivational Moments:

About the Author: Lindsey Beacham, from Atlanta, serves as Marketing Coordinator for UroMed. She graduated from Auburn University with a B.A. in Criminology and from Georgia State University with a B.B.A in Marketing. When she’s not busy with marketing or studying for additional degrees, she enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with her family.

 

About UroMed Catheters
Headquartered in Suwanee, GA [a suburb of Atlanta], UroMed is one of the nation’s leading providers of single-use catheters, urological and disposable medical supplies, including intermittent catheters, closed system catheters, condom catheters, pediatric catheters and continence care products. UroMed is nationally accredited for Medicare reimbursement and most state Medicaid plans, and partners with private health insurance providers and health plans to provide patients with single-use catheters, catheter kits and incontinence products. UroMed also has seven staffed regional offices located in Boston, MA; Columbia, SC; Jacksonville, FL; Dallas, TX; Carlsbad, CA; Knoxville, TN; Richmond, VA; and Baton Rouge, LA; enabling next-day delivery after a customer’s initial medical supply order. For more information, please visit http://www.uromed.com or call 1-800-841-1233.

One Response to MS Mondays: Exercise Hints and Benefits

  1. Tracy Rose says:

    Hi,

    Healthline just launched an interactive tool that shows the correlation between sun exposure, vitamin D, and MS rates. You can find it at: http://www.healthline.com/health/multiple-sclerosis/vitamin-d.

    We would love if you could share with your friends, followers, & subscribers.

    Thank you in advance for your consideration. Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Warm Regards,
    Tracy

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