Manage Fatigue with Exercise

Some people with MS feel frequently tired or lethargic. But feeling fatigued doesn't have to limit your fun with and benefits from exercise. Read on for helpful tips on conserving energy while exercising:

  • Rest up! Get enough sleep the night before engaging in sports or taking a class. If you usually need 7 or 8 hours to feel rested, go to bed an hour earlier if you're exercising the next day. Also, take a 15-minute nap a few hours before doing any demanding exercise.
  • Coordinate your exercise routine with your body rhythms and energy levels. For example, if you feel most energetic in the morning, attend an exercise class or go walking 2 - 3 hours after breakfast. Alternate more demanding exercise with activity requiring less.
  • Talk with exercise instructors about your condition and your symptoms before starting a new class. Let them know that you might need to stop frequently to rest. An instructor may be able to recommend certain activities best suited to your ability.
  • If you feel too tired to exercise, commit to moderate exercise only for 2 - 3 minutes. Once you start, you may feel increased energy to keep going. If you still feel tired, make sure you stop and rest.
  • If you're energy starts to fade, take a 15-minute break to recharge. Lie or sit with your eyes closed, and breathe slowly and deeply.
  • Keep cool and drink at least two litres of water each day (or eight 8-ounce glasses). Excessive body heat can lead to increased fatigue, as well as weakness and other MS symptoms such as blurred vision. For people with MS who are heat-sensitive, keeping cool is essential.

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