Staying active with Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (commonly known as “MS”) is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. It’s characterised by the formation of areas of demyelination (plaques) throughout the brain and spinal cord. This damage to the central nervous system results in slow or interrupted transmission of nerve impulses and causes a wide range of symptoms.

Symptoms of MS include physical and cognitive disability, extreme fatigue, temperature sensitivity, and depression. There is currently no known cause or cure for MS.

MS affects over 25,600 people in Australia. Most of these people are diagnosed between the ages of 20-40, but it can affect younger and older people too. MS is roughly three times more common in women than in men.

THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE

Today, exercise is considered safe for people with MS.

Many of the symptoms associated with MS are reduced through physical activity and exercise. Research has indicated that persons with MS who engage in exercise have:

  • less relapses
  • increased mobility
  • increased strength
  • increased cardiovascular health
  • lower levels of fatigue
  • lower incidence of depression and anxiety
  • less pain
  • better balance
  • better quality of life

Any exacerbation of symptoms associated with exercise are normally fully reversed 30 minutes after the end of the exercise session. Including exercise in your life as soon as possible after diagnosis is expected to prevent early progression of the disease.

GETTING STARTED

If you’re new to exercise, it’s important to start slowly. We recommend working up to the recommended volume of exercise over two to three months and break exercise into shorter bouts of 10 to 15 minutes at a time if necessary. Remember that all exercises can be modified by an Accredited Exercise Physiologist to suit your ability.

The most important thing is to choose exercise that you enjoy, and remember, something is always better than nothing!

SPEAK TO THE EXERCISE PROFESSIONALS

A health professional, like one of our Accredited Exercise Physiologists, can help you tailor exercise so that they are safe and suit your individual needs. They can also show you how to gradually increase your training load so that you minimise the risk of injury or are able to better manage your fatigue.

Getting support from an exercise professional can also help you with goal setting and motivation to help make regular exercise and physical activity a part of your day-to-day life.

Click here to contact us and find out how our Exercise Physiologists can help!

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