Maximising the Benefits of Exercise for People with Multiple Sclerosis in North Sydney
Exercise is an essential component of managing multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. MS can cause physical and cognitive decline, increased falls risk, and other symptoms that can negatively impact a person’s quality of life, such as:
- Cognitive decline (concentration, memory, speech etc.)
- Physical decline: decreased strength and cardiovascular fitness
- Increased falls risk
- Temperature sensitivity
That’s where accredited exercise physiologists
(EPs) come in.
EPs are allied health professionals who specialise in exercise prescription for the treatment and management of chronic health conditions. They use a bio-psychosocial approach to understand how MS affects a person’s quality of life and develop exercise programs tailored to their individual needs.
Benefits of Exercise for People with MS
Exercise and physical activity have been shown to improve the symptoms associated with MS. Here are some of the ways exercise can help:
- Improved upper and lower body strength and endurance: Performed correctly, resistance training exercise can help to maintain and improve function alongside appropriate pacing strategies. Your Exercise Physiologist can assist you to suitably structure your exercise intensity (how hard), frequency (how often), timing (how long), and type (what kind).
- Cardiovascular fitness: Cardiovascular exercise and implementation of pacing strategies can assist with symptoms of fatigue and lethargy. Your body responds to the cardiovascular stimulus by creating adaptations that, over time make the exercise easier to complete. This increase in fitness also helps to prevent cardiovascular diseases and other co-morbidities, as well as allow you to achieve more throughout the day.
- Balance: 50-60% of people living with MS will have one or more falls within the year, with balance impairing 75% of these individuals. Fear of falling and potentially hurting oneself can restrict participation in many activities- both social and personal. Including balance exercises into your routine can help to prevent falls and subsequent injuries.
What Type of Exercise is Recommended?
It’s always best to start small and find a regular exercise routine that is sustainable for life. Slowly build up to the recommendations at a pace that does not leave you too fatigued to complete your activities of daily living.
Here are some exercise recommendations:
- 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (2 days per week)
- Strength training for major muscle groups (2 days per week)
- Include balance and mobility exercises most days of the week.
All exercises can be modified by an Exercise Physiologist to suit your capability.
Who Can Help Me?
Finding the right support is important if you feel like exercise is too challenging or daunting. An Accredited Exercise Physiologist will be able to get you exercising and moving at a safe and appropriate level. They will also educate and guide you on independent management of your condition, so that you can become empowered and self-reliant when the time is right.
If you’re in North Sydney, visit us today
or ask your GP about Exercise Physiology in your Multiple Sclerosis management plan to start maximising the benefits of exercise for your MS management plan.