Calendar of Events Donate Now
Subscribe for Email Updates

    Gary Crandall sent me home with much 'food for thought.' As a result of his discussion with us, I will be able to exercise more effectively and efficiently. My motivation to push myself intelligently got a boost. My husband came home feeling more equipped to focus on his self-care and well-being for which I'm deeply appreciative.

    Julie H., JUMPSTART Program Participant
    •  


    by Alexander Ng, PhD, FACSM & Tammy G. Roehrs, PT, MA, NCS

    Fitness is often associated with exercise.  While exercise or physical activity is now advised for everyone, having MS can make meeting recommended exercise guidelines challenging.  But is it really that important if someone has a chronic disease like MS?  The short answer is. . . YES!  Lack of exercise is associated with heart disease, cancers, metabolic diseases, hypertension, low bone density, all-cause mortality, and numerous other health risks that affect people with MS.  The latest catch phrase about exercise, “Exercise is Medicine,” implies that physical activity is just as important for someone with MS as it is for the general population.

    “Exercise is medicine” can take on added meaning for someone with MS because exercise or physical activity can be prescribed (like any other drug) as adjunct or primary therapy to help improve or maintain physical and mental fitness, as well as health and wellness.  Exercise may include aerobic or “cardio”, strength, or neuromotor activities.    Yoga and Tai Chi are great examples of neuromotor activities that might improve balance and coordination.  While exercise is important, health professionals are now beginning to understand that it is just as important to “not be sedentary” as it is to be active, at least as far as health risk is concerned.    

    How does someone stay active when faced with changes from MS?  One important concept to consider is resilience.  People who demonstrate resilience strive to view changes from MS as a challenge, and try to avoid thinking of changes as a threat or a failure.  With an exercise program, this may mean adapting exercise from day to day, or perhaps updating an exercise program every few months.  It may also mean learning a new activity, such as yoga or Tai Chi.    

    Medical professionals often advise people to avoid being sedentary, or not to sit for prolonged periods of time.  For a person who is walking, this may mean walking for 10 minutes over a lunch break.  For a person who uses a wheelchair for most of a day, this may mean seated aerobics (moving the arms and trunk) for 10 minutes over lunch.  Or, one person may be training for a Can Do Vertical Express ski event and another person may be enjoying a seated game of Wii tennis.  For the same person, she may choose to exercise outdoors in the Fall and Spring, but indoors in the Summer. 

    Physical activity does have something for everyone, and especially for someone with MS.

    Click here to get even more great tips on this topic by viewing  our archived webinar on Get Fit, Stay Fit & Exercise with MS.  

    Return to all articles
    100 W. Beaver Creek Blvd. Suite 200 PO Box 5860 Avon, CO 81620 Phone: 970-926-1290 or 800-367-3101 Fax: 970-926-1295 Email: info@mscando.org
    MS Coalition Charity Navigator Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers Independent Charities of America Humane Charity

    Can Do Multiple Sclerosis™ is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.
    Charitable Organization Number: 74-2337853

    Formerly The Heuga Center for Multiple Sclerosis | Founded by Jimmie Heuga

    A national nonprofit organization, Can Do MS is a leading provider of innovative lifestyle empowerment programs
    that empower people with MS and their support partners to transform and improve their quality of life.