Multiple Sclerosis and the Importance of Exercise

Keeping Active is Important

It's understandable that many people with Multiple Sclerosis steer clear of regular exercise because they're afraid it might increase their fatigue or because they feel they simply aren't up to it physically. But with a properly managed regime, always taking into account a person's individual limitations, therapy on the form of exercise is a good thing both physically and mentally.

Exercise helps increase mobility, build up muscle strength and strengthens the heart. Importantly regular exercise has been shown to release the happy chemicals in the brain, known as endorphins, so can help combat depression or emotional problems brought on by living with Multiple Sclerosis.

Listen to your body. Work with it but don't overdo it otherwise you'll end up feeling exhausted rather than energized.

Even if the MS symptoms are restrictive, regular exercise is still a possibility. Swimming is an excellent therapy and a way of staying fit ­ particularly if the disease is causing increased sensitivity to temperature. The latter can make some forms of exercise a problem as the body can overheat. With swimming the body is weightless making some movements, which a person can't do out of water, possible. The cold water can also increase the electrical impulses in the nerves, which are usually slowed down in MS. This can lead to a temporary relief of symptoms.

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