One of the most common misconceptions about multiple sclerosis (MS) is that you cannot exercise, which is false. Actually, studies have shown that regular exercise can help reduce some of the symptoms associated with MS, from improving muscle strength to decreasing the risk of heart disease. Here are six things to keep in mind before you get in .
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1. Start off slowly.
We’re not kidding. Take. It. Slow. Even if it means exercising for five to 10 minutes a day until you feel confident enough to step it up.
2. Stretch daily.
While some of us might be able to get away with not stretching before a workout, which is not recommend by the way, people with MS don’t have that option as involuntary muscle stiffness and/or spasms are common. To reduce these symptoms, set aside at least 10 to 15 minutes for stretching before you hit the gym. Even after your workouts, it doesn’t hurt to stretch several times throughout the day.
3. Stay cool.
Heat will only exacerbate your MS symptoms. To avoid overheating, got to the gym in the morning when the temperature tends to be cooler, exercise indoors whenever you can, take up swimming, wear cooling vests, and drink cool beverages throughout your workout session.
4. Try cardio.
Many MS patients who participate in cardio workouts say that it helps improve their fatigue, which is the most common symptom associated with MS. Additionally, because cardio increases your heart rate, it’s believed to help progress the condition in the right direction and decrease brain damage.
5. Pace yourself.
There’s no shame in taking as many breaks as you need to during your workout sessions. If you rush through exercising, that’ll only cause your fatigue to worsen – and who wants that?
6. Work with a professional.
We understand that not everyone can afford to have their own personal trainer, but seeing a physical therapist is a smart choice because he or she can recommend specialized programs that fit your specific needs and concerns.
Visit the BlackDoctor.org Living with Multiple Sclerosis center for more articles.