I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Is it okay to exercise?
Response from Iris Marin Collazo, MD
Common symptoms of MS such as fatigue, weakness, and poor coordination can discourage the prospect of physical activity. However, studies show that the benefits of exercise far outweigh the challenges for people with MS – as long as you remember not to overdo it, and that moderation is essential.
If you have MS, check with your doctor before starting the routine. For someone with MS, exercising too aggressively can cause severe fatigue, injury, and worsen symptoms. While regular aerobic exercise can improve strength and balance, improve bowel and bladder control, and decrease the spasticity associated with MS, it can backfire if you don̵
When you start exercising, you may experience numbness, tingling, or blurred vision. This is due to an increase in body temperature caused by exertion. Usually symptoms will ease as your body cools down. You can control your body temperature while exercising with a cooling collar or other device.
A physical therapist or fitness trainer familiar with MS can help you create a routine that suits your ability and addresses issues such as body temperature, imbalance, fatigue, and spasticity. He or she can also help you monitor your heart rate and breathing rate so you can keep up and avoid overexertion. Pool exercises like aqua aerobics can also help balance and reduce the risk of falls.
Anyone with MS can customize an exercise routine to suit their needs. Remember to work within your abilities and not overdo it.
Updated: 2017-06-07T00: 00: 00
Release date: 2014-05-06T00: 00: 00