Nearly twenty to thirty years ago, individuals diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis were instructed to avoid physical activity and exercise as it may worsen their symptoms or the course of their disease. The value of exercise in the management of MS has been firmly established by years of collaboration among clinicians, researchers, we well as the leadership of advocates such as Can Do MS’s founder, Jimmie Heuga. With the increased understanding that exercise is valuable, questions have evolved as to why exercise is helpful.
Neuroplasticity involves “a neuron’s ability to change its function, chemical profile or structure” (Lundy-Ekman, 2002). In simpler terms, the brain and nerve connections within the brain are constantly changing and re-organizing based on learning, experience, memory, disuse, disease, and practice. Recent research has demonstrated that exercise may positively facilitate brain re-organization (neuroplasticity).
In the upcoming webinar, “Exercise and Multiple Sclerosis,” participants will learn the latest research involving the impact of exercise on brain re-organization. Participants will also learn the primary components of an exercise program: flexibility, strength training, cardiovascular exercise, and balance. Flexibility involves improving the range of motion and length of a muscle or group of muscles. Flexibility activities are often used to manage spasticity or muscle tightness common in individuals with Multiple Sclerosis. Strength training involves improving muscular strength and endurance. It may include use of weights, resistive bands, or an individual’s own body resistance. Cardiovascular exercises reference activities that elevate the heart rate. Examples may include walking, bicycling, using an arm bike, or swimming. Lastly, balance and coordination exercises are typically designed to reduce unsteadiness, imbalance, or vertigo. Balance exercises may include Tai Chi, use of cushions, or exercise balls. During the webinar, activity recommendations for participants of all mobility levels will be provided for each exercise component.
Exercise CAN be for everyone; exercise is UNIQUE to everyone. Learn how to move well and live better with exercise.