Exercise reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke, lowers blood pressure, helps to control weight and stress, and reduces your risk of diabetes and certain types of cancer.
But what can exercise specifically do for people living with MS?
A recent study showed that regular aerobic exercise - exercise vigorous enough to increase heart rate and breathing rate-increased fitness, arm and leg strength, and improved bowel and bladder control in people with MS who participated in the study. Some people also reported reduced depression and fatigue.
Other studies have shown that exercise can help with MS-related problems such as poor balance and muscle spasms.
Exercise can also improve your muscle strength and heart health. This means that if you have a flare-up of symptoms, you have an extra reserve of support and energy. So when your symptoms subside again, you'll be stronger during recovery.
Keep in mind that all exercise has benefits, but those benefits fade away if you stop exercising. So it's important to continue to exercise. That means that if you find you can't do what you used to do, try to modify what you're doing to make your exercise more manageable. Ask your doctor, specialist and physical therapists, exercise physiologists, or certified personal trainer for help.
Even moderate exercise for 20 minutes or so every day can give you the same benefits as more strenuous workouts. Find something you enjoy and the benefits will follow.
Be sure to talk to your doctor, specialist and neurologist before starting an exercise program. They can help you in understanding any special cautions or instructions. Every individual with MS is different.
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