Exercise - A Top Treatment For MS

In addition to being essential to general health and well-being, exercise is extremely helpful in managing many MS symptoms. All who exercise gain benefits physically, mentally, and emotionally. Those with MS have even more to gain!

The effects of physical activity on MS:

Fatigue - Exercise may seem like a strange recommendation to combat fatigue, however the most up to date research states that keeping fit and improving your strength can help reduce the severity of fatigue and improve a general sense of well being.

Muscle strength - The highest level of evidence for the benefits of strength training in people with MS show that it can improve muscle force production.

Aerobic capacity - Endurance exercise at low to moderate intensity is well tolerated and has positive effects on both physiology and psychology among people with MS.

Cognition - Studies show that fit multiple sclerosis patients perform significantly better on tests of cognitive function than similar less-fit patients. In addition, MRI scans of more-fit MS patients show less damage in parts of the brain that demonstrate deterioration as a result of MS, as well as a greater volume of vital gray matter.

Walking performance - Walking requires both lower extremity strength and cardiovascular health. As fitness level and strength increase a person is able to more efficiently walk.

Bladder control - Even moderate regular exercise helps to correct bladder control issues that are common in people with multiple sclerosis.

Quality of life - Because exercise is effective in decreasing symptoms and improving mood, patients report that quality of life is improved with exercise.

Exercise also benefit posture, mobility, mood, self-confidence, sleep, appetite, gait patterns and weight loss. It can create opportunities for new social outlets, strengthen the immune system and positively impact the level of independence for a person with MS.

BREAKING NEWS!!!! It is likely that exercise has an anti-inflammatory effect, especially important in inflammatory disease processes. Not only does exercise decrease symptoms in MS and depression, it also modifies the course of the illness through a neuroprotective effect.

An exercise program needs to be appropriate to the capabilities and limitations of the individual, and may require adjustment as changes occur in MS symptoms. A physical therapist experienced with the unique and varied symptoms of MS can be helpful in designing, supervising and revising a well-balanced exercise program. Any person with MS who is initiating a new exercise program should also consult with his or her physician.