New thoughts on exercise and MS

Ok, we all know that we should be exercising. Besides all of the great stuff that exercise does for everyone (lowered cardiovascular risk, increased muscle mass, etc.), research on the effects of exercise in MS has shown that it:

  • Lowers risk for depression
  • Improves MS-related fatigue
  • Improves cognitive functioning

Notably, exercise has also been shown to increase overall daily activity level, functional capacity and balance in people with MS as well. Overall, this adds up to a measurable increase in quality of life. There is even limited evidence in animal models that exercise therapy may halt, slow or reverse disease progression of MS.
 
Exercise therapy, as it has been studied, is “an individualized prescribed exercise or plan designed to restore health and prevent further disease or disability.” Typically, this is prescribed by a doctor through a physical therapist or other supervised situation. There are specific guidelines, based on scientific data, for programs combining resistance and endurance testing.
 
While that is great and all, raise your hand if you are currently participating in an exercise therapy program. See what I mean? Studies show that fewer than 20% of people in the general US population get the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. In people with MS, this number is definitely lower, as research shows that activity in people with MS starts off low and declines over time.
 
So, why don’t we exercise? As a person with MS, that is a pretty simple question to answer: Even though I know it will make me feel better, many times I feel so horrible or so fatigued that the thought of 30 minutes of sustained exercise would just make me laugh. Or cry.
 
However, there may be an answer, according to Robert W. Motl in his presentation at ECTRIMS 2013, entitled “Physical activity in MS: Theory, determinants and behavioral interventions.”
 
Dr. Motl reminded the audience that it is not just people with MS who don’t stick to exercise programs. Over 50% of adults drop out of any formal exercise program after 3 months and after 6 months 75% have stopped exercising.
 
He has some ideas on how to prevent this exercise attrition, however. Rather than pushing an exercise therapy program, we should strive to incorporate more physical activity into our daily lives. Dr. Motl calls this “lifestyle activity,” and points out that intermittent exercise has been shown to have the same effect as “continuous bouts” of exercise. In other words, accumulating 30 minutes a day of moderate exertion doing normal things (walking to our car, gardening, pushing a vacuum cleaner) can be as effective as a 30-minute exercise session.
 
In addition to this new approach to getting our recommended daily allowance of exercise, Dr. Motl has been researching the effect of social cognitive theory, which relies on perceived self-efficacy. Simply put, a person will be much more likely to do something if they believe that they CAN do it. Putting this theory to the test, Dr. Motl’s group tried it out on people with MS. After three months, the people who participated in the self-efficacy component exercised more, exerted themselves more and reported feeling better than those in the group who did not receive the self-efficacy message.
 
I’m a huge fan of this new paradigm of incorporating exercise into daily life. After seeing the title of an article, “Is Sitting the New Smoking?” in a popular magazine, I bought a pedometer and now force myself to get at least 10,000 steps a day. Since a part of self-efficacy involves “modeling” or seeing others do the same thing, I monitor an online group of people who log their steps daily. In this way, I have made exercise a habit. I can tell you, I feel much better than I did than when I would visit the gym for 3 days straight and then take a 6-month break.
 
P.S. For those of you who may have limited mobility, you can still get the benefits from incorporating more physical activity into your day by exerting yourself to the extent possible to do daily activities.

Resources:
Excercise
Yoga
Adaptive Tai Chi
Aquatics
 

Tags Healthy Living, Research      13 Appreciate this
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Julie

Julie Stachowiak, PhD

Julie is the author of the Multiple Sclerosis Manifesto, the winner of the 2009 ForeWord Book of the Year Award in the Health Category. She is an epidemiologist who is also a person living with MS, Julie has an in-depth understanding about current research and scientific developments around MS. She also has first-hand knowledge of the frustrations and anxiety surrounding the disease, as she had MS for at least 15 years before receiving a diagnosis in 2003 and has had several relapses since her diagnosis.

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    57 Comments

  • Dan   Oct 3, 2013 3:20 PM
    I agree with this completely... Exercise is important for those of us that suffer from MS...
    Find a gentle workout routine to try before starting anything intense and make sure that your Dr agrees with it...
  • LAURIE GARVIN   Oct 4, 2013 9:47 AM
    I was diagnosed in my late twenties; I was teaching until my late thirties. I had hand controls on my car in my early thirties. Now living in a nursing home because my legs are contracted. I have restorative therapy but I always want more!
  • Angela Hearn   Oct 4, 2013 10:30 AM
    I wish they would find a cure my ms happened when I was 19 but they did not diagnose with ms until 5years later I woke up and I could not feel my legs and they diagnose me when they did a spinal tap I been dealing with it for over 13 years I take my Avonex and stay away from stress as well as messy ass people.I am doing well I just need to exercise. I am blessed to have a good husband as well as a good support group.I thank God everyday for that.
  • Angela Hearn   Oct 4, 2013 10:30 AM
    I wish they would find a cure my ms happened when I was 19 but they did not diagnose with ms until 5years later I woke up and I could not feel my legs and they diagnose me when they did a spinal tap I been dealing with it for over 13 years I take my Avonex and stay away from stress as well as messy ass people.I am doing well I just need to exercise. I am blessed to have a good husband as well as a good support group.I thank God everyday for that.
  • Angela Hearn   Oct 4, 2013 10:30 AM
    I wish they would find a cure my ms happened when I was 19 but they did not diagnose with ms until 5years later I woke up and I could not feel my legs and they diagnose me when they did a spinal tap I been dealing with it for over 13 years I take my Avonex and stay away from stress as well as messy ass people.I am doing well I just need to exercise. I am blessed to have a good husband as well as a good support group.I thank God everyday for that.
  • susan   Oct 5, 2013 5:34 AM
    JULIE......I brother is in the UK has remitting M.S. Had Open Heart Surg on July 1st. has been out and back in to hospital 3 times now with some sort of infection they can not trace...nothing shows....all test come back neg. His counts all go up when he is off antibiotics for any length of time....He legs spasm I feel that a nerologist should see him ,but difficult to fins a good one! They are at a loss.....he is so weak and wants to give up......
  • Gary Paruszkiewicz   Oct 8, 2013 10:21 AM
    I developed the Therapeutic Tai Chi In-a-Chair program as complementary therapy for my physical therapy, as I dealt with MS. I was diagnosed in 1991. It was introduced by the Nat'l MS Society at an "MS Awreness Event" in Bourbonnais, IL in 2006 and The NMSS had me travel around the state to present it at NMSS sponsored Wellness Events and I did programs for a couple years at the annual MS camp in Bloomington, too. There are currently over 135 instructors certified to teach the program. The program is especially beneficial for people with standing/balance issues. I am so glad to see the NMSS promoting exercise and physical therapy, not just for the therapeutic benefits, but also for the social engagement and support.

    For information, please go to www.relax1.net. Thank you.
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    babydoll132266  Oct 9, 2013 7:53 AM
    I have no appetite at all..my husband has to remind me to eat.does anyone else have that problem??
  • storymaker111  Oct 9, 2013 8:41 AM
    I am a long-term MSer, entering at least my 30ieth year. A year ago my neurologist said he wanted to deal with my remaining MS symptoms through exercise and physical therapy. I stuck with it and have seen vast improvement in physical ability. I am walking to breakfast from my room each day, and to lunch every other day. On my third electric wheelchair, I had not walked that way for eight years. I think better, I am happier and I get stronger and lighter week by week. When first diagnosed, the advice was to avoid getting hot or fatigued. I find neither of those a problem with living now, and they only get better.
  • Marita   Oct 10, 2013 3:03 AM
    First, THANK YOU for all your writings! For many years I have been ill but without a clear diagnosis. I finally got my diagnosis this year. But I found your site long before and have been reading your articles since and seen how well it all fitted to my situation and my simptoms. And I have listened carefully to your advice and they worked for me!. It has meant a lot to me to have found doctors advice for all these practical aspects of my life - that noone have done before.
    Now to this article about exercise: I got the blessing this summer to be offered a place outside my rented apartment for city gardening. Even if some of the jobs are in fact to heavy for my weak hands and I give myself some bad days afterwards if I do them, most of the work is absolutly perfect for me and I have no problem to find the will to go out there - not the ups and downs as i did with walking,swimming, going to Gym etc! And to be out in sun and in rain just seems to do so much more than the other activities!. And now your article show that this more natural way of exercising can be as efective as the other - I was so happy to hear that t. Ofcause I have to be careful with the heat and use sunglases, sunhat, doing all the work i small portions - not all at once - but as far as I do that I can do much more fisical activity there than I could have imagined.
    I am getting weaker in my hands and legs, so I realice that I might have to organize my garden differently than other. I am thinking of making boxes so I dont need to bend all the way to the ground . And I might need to chose wisely among what to sow that doesnt give too much work. But all this is possible and I enjoy my gardening exercise sooo much. Wish I could inspire many cronical ill people to start gardening - on the balkony if they dont have got the oportunity that I have.
  • Dominique   Oct 10, 2013 10:43 AM
    I have gone from having pain and dreading getting out of bed to running 10 miles easily. I have a half marathon coming up and have never felt healthier. One day I decided to just stop all medications for pain and I would learn to love a better life. To Live a more functional life. It was hard to get motivated and work through the pain. But now my mri is practically clear and I can do everything I used to do before I got ms. Tysabri has been helping as well. Now I'm virtually symptom free. Exercise saved me from the deep depression I was in.
  • Tamara   Oct 10, 2013 3:58 PM
    I have had RRMS for 16 years now.I take Avonex and follow the MS Recovery diet.I absolutely believe in exercising 2-3x's per week.I walk 30 minutes on the treadmill or walk in my neighborhood.I also clean my own house.It helps me relieve stress and is great for my immune system.100% believe that exercise is important!!
  • Larry Hundley   Oct 10, 2013 7:32 PM
    During the diagnosis of PPMS notification conference I asked the doctor what I can do to cope with the disease. Before he told me about treatments for symptoms, diets, Vitamin D, etc. he said "EXERCISE" . He was right.
  • m0nique  Oct 12, 2013 9:24 PM
    I've been a regular, continuous exerciser my entire adult life. I believe that I never progressed beyond my Clinically Isolated Syndrome because I work (and work out) hard to stay healthy. My one significant MS episode (double vision in 2005) resulted in getting MRI, which showed brain lesions and conclusion that I have MS. The double vision went away after 2 weeks (as the dr predicted) without any meds. Because I felt good otherwise, I decided to put off going on the recommended MS medications (against MS doctors' advice) but I haven't had another episode since. My GP and my husband agreed with my decision and that support is so helpful. I fully realize and accept that one day I may probably have to go on meds, but looking back I am so glad that I've gone this long without any progression and not having taken medication needlessly. Bottom line: I never stopped exercising and I really think that putting in that one hour a day (and yes, usually 7 days a week) IS my medication.
  • Joan F.   Oct 14, 2013 9:27 AM
    I totally agree with this, and am one of those who has trouble sticking to my PT recommendations. Some days I'm just too fatigued & I now need a leg brace. It's hard to find therapists & doctors who can help you find & make the most of a plan that doesn't overexert but does help build strength & balance. I do plan to look into the Tai Chi - that sounds very appealing!
  • Penny Khuri   Oct 17, 2013 10:20 AM
    Hi Julie,
    So glad to see your work is going so well. What a nice surprise to see your name in the MS Society newsletter - just thought I would say hi! I would love to catch up. Following Mark's stuff on FB/Twitter. Looks like you are busy as ever!
  • Colleen   Oct 17, 2013 11:16 AM
    Hello,

    I am a big fan of walking half marathons! I got inspired by a friend that I met at a FL Women's conference. She had told me that she has done the Charleston Challenge several times (Walking 50 miles over 3 days). I didn't know that you could "WALK" a half marathon or a full Marathon as long as you can walk 4 miles in 1 hour that is the required pace.

    Two and a half years ago I did my first Half Marathon at Disney! It was such a rewarding emotional experience and now I am hooked LOL.
    Coming up on my next Half in November this will be my 4th one so far.
    I have had MS for 8 1/2 years now and I am doing absolutely Great! I am very fortunate with my drug therapy and exercise to have a control over my MS. I am blessed. :)
  • Angie   Oct 17, 2013 11:42 AM
    ok all I havde to say is icouldn'tuse my shot lastnight the needel was dull somy nurse had touise another shoit so I hadit lasdtnight soihope u can hwelpme with thgisx matter. I am angela wpoodsall, aND IUS EHEALTH DEPOT.HOPERFULLY I CAN GETMY SHOT REEMBURSED ? OK THAK YOU ,
  • Stevie  Oct 17, 2013 1:07 PM
    I am lucky. I have MS and have a difficulty walking but I'm still upright. 6 months ago I made a conscious decision to do something physical every day. I found a Pilates instructor who I work with 2 hours a week and she has helped me make big strides in my muscle strength. Most other days I go to my local gym and try to get cardio exercise. I have significant leg pain associated with my MS but I have found that by cranking the volume on my tunes and using a great set of ear phones I am able to take my mind off the pain and I have worked my way up to 30 minutes on a stationary bike or elliptical machine. I know that not everyone can do this but if you do something...anything physical you'll feel better. Many gyms including mine have an arm machine for people who can't stand up and it allows them to get their heart rate up. Maybe mind over matter does work with MS.
  • ana   Oct 17, 2013 1:15 PM
    don't take medication, but I excerise every day. I am on the fence wheter to take medication. Exercise has improve my life a lot.
  • Gerri Ballas   Oct 17, 2013 1:47 PM
    I was diagnosed in my 40's but had signs in my mid twenties when my legs went numb and again in my mid 40's I couldn't walk. Finally I received a confirmed diagnosis of MS. I was now married with children and decided to return to work, keep as active as possible. and kept a very positive attitude. I did not allow this diagnosis to take over my life.

    Attitude towards this disease is very important. You cannot give into it or it will take over. Keep your mind especially active, and your body as active as is possible. I rest every day, keep from getting stressed and do what I can physically. When I get tired or don't feel up to par, I rest.

    Life is much more fun and wonderful if you have a good support group - be it husband, family, friends. Keeping socially connected allows your spirits to soar and gives you purpose.

    Prayer is a very important component in my life too. Without faith, without God, I believe my health would have seriously deteriorated.

    We all have health issues at one time or another and hopefully learn to cope. So it is with MS. Good doctors, good attitude, good support, less stress, healthy activity, all help to keep you going in the right direction. So take those steps, big steps, and you will see good results.
  • Mckinley Lewis   Oct 17, 2013 2:46 PM
    I am a firm believer in staying healthy. MS has been in my life for 10 year's now, maybe longer before they determined I had MS. I played professional baseball when I was told that I had MS, mentally and physically coping with this is been harder than anything I had ever been threw in my life. MS put's a strain on myself as well as my family. Working out starts out great but the after effect's is terrible and makes it easy not to work out again. I have over 60 lesions that makes it harder for me to day to day task. But I am strong and will not be beaten by this thing they call MS takes for letting me get my feeling out.
  • JERRY MEHLBERG   Oct 17, 2013 5:56 PM
    I have been dealing with MS for 30 years since I was 29 years old. I started with one walking cane, and it has progressed that I now am using a wheelchair whenever I leave the house.
    The best exercise I have discovered is lap swimming with a snorkel and mask. I wear some floats on my ankles so my legs don't pull me down.
    I swim for 1 hour 4x a week. I take a deep breath with every stroke. This come out to 800 deep oxygenating breaths in an hour.
    The pool is ideal because I don't overheat, and I get an aerobic workout. With all the air, it eliminates brain fog until I settle in with a glass of wine in the evening.
    I am taking Tecfedera that has an uncomfortable side effect of flushing. The cool pool counteracts this!

    The other thing I refuse to do is to refer MS as MY MS.
    MS is my enemy! It's like referring to a terrorist or rapist as MY TERRORIST,
    OR MY RAPIST.
  • darla   Oct 17, 2013 7:19 PM
    this is to
    babydoll132266
    I do the same thing about forgetting to eat I have went 4 days without eating until I am so weak that I can't do anything it is better now that I have a care taker but prior to having one I would often go without eating as I was never hungry and I am still that way since I was diagnosed with this horrible disease I have lost over 40 pounds I totally understand where you are coming from
  • Moni23   Oct 17, 2013 7:43 PM
    I do love doing yoga but I do get very overwhelmed, I was so good before I had ms I did kick boxing I was such a pro. Not anymore.
  • I was diagnosed 4 years ago with rrms and work 12 hours at a busy hospital 36 hours a week. Attitude and perserverence has been my friend. I refuse to give in that I have MS. STAY ACTIVE   Oct 17, 2013 7:43 PM
    KEEP THE FAITH AND DON'T GIVE UP
  • Kevin   Oct 17, 2013 8:11 PM
    RRMS diagnosed 15 years ago. Now 44. No physical issues that are major. I make it a point to play golf 2x a week. Really helps the coordination I've lost.

    No medications after I tried Avonex and Tysabri.

    I take magnesium citrate. Calcium citrate. D3. And a multi.

    Excercise has helped me I believe. Although numbness has never left my feet
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    ohitsjustjoe  Oct 18, 2013 2:27 AM
    I believe that you have to keep your mind healthy as well as your body. Exercise is great as long as you can relax as well. I have been told that I have MS then I dont have MS and now just a week ago I was told that I have MS again. So I am struggling with it right now but I am trying to stay active and healthy at the same time cause I know I can not let it eat me up or it will win..
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    rega_strong  Oct 18, 2013 8:41 AM
    I was diagnosed 9/30/13 - and I feel like I haven't been healthier in years. I quickly began a whole new routine, a complete 360 of my lifestyle. Concise of what I eat and began an exercise/strengthening program. I've been awaken to healthy living and I love it. Not that I didn't take care of myself before but, probably not as well as I should of. I truly believe this disease is about removing the toxins in your body and staying positive. Since MS is such a complex disease and affects everyone differently - personalized treatment is a must. I believe what your body is made of is how it started and how it will affect you....your chemical makeup - my body didn't agree with the way I was treating it so..I got MS.
    This may be the steroid treatments talking but I feel like I'm beating this thing already. I prepare on reversing over 20 years of toxins so, I know it will take a while and a lot of hard work, can't wait.
    I'm supposed to start the DMA Gilenya in the coming weeks, still on the fence about it. Was actually considering taking a more holistic approach with vitamins and supplements - if you could provide some feedback on the benefits of IGF-1 or Deer Antler Velvet, I'd appreciate it...heard conflicting reports.
    Either way, I'm staying strong and living a healthy life - MS AIN'T GOT NOTHIN' ON ME!
  • Jenny Mc   Oct 18, 2013 3:25 PM
    I recently lost my job. It was a very SEDENTARY job with a 75 minute commute one way in city traffic. Since then, I have been able to exercise and have even been going to physical therapy once a week. God knows I need to work, but I feel blessed to have this time. Now that I am working out, I see how much strength I have really lost in the past year.
  • Diane Penner   Oct 18, 2013 4:25 PM
    Swimming for 45mins., taking yoga class and doing a two mile walk 2-3 times a week have been a steady diet of therapy for me. I also tandem bike ride with my husband once a week. (Without him and his strong legs, I would not be out there on a bike enjoying the fresh air!) I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting M.S. for 18 years. Along with staying on my medication, my being active not only keeps me with a positive outlook, it keeps me socially connected and I feel like I am am doing my part in showing the M.S. doesn't have to "own you".
  • pgarcia44  Oct 19, 2013 11:37 AM
    I was diagnosed ion November 2012 for primary progressive ms. Int the past I was mis-diagnosed to have peripheral neuropathy.
    Having ms has changed my life entirely.
    I love to work out and I am tired of hearing people in the medical industry tell me it's bad for me. What am I supposed to do sit at home and feel bad for myself? Yes I went from an athlete to a wheelchair. My wife has seen her husband go from walking to sitting. Yes this makes me feel like half of a man but I try not to be depressed about it.
    I do not take meds instead I take fish oils and vitamins.
  • Hilda Jones   Oct 20, 2013 1:39 PM
    I have now had MS for 38 years. I was always a BIG believer in exercise long before I was diagnosed and now that they have identified endorphin and its role in making you feel better and helping your immune system I feel like my thoughts about exercise have been validated. Fatigue has been my biggest symptom and as a result my legs are weaker. I love to swim though and I find that swimming 3 times per week for a half mile quite doable. I am now working out with weights more since I also have osteoporosis and have fallen and broken my hip- resulting in an unplanned total hip replacement. I have also found that doing WiFi t is great for developing better balance as well as doing TaiChi. As they say "use it or lose it"- even if you can only do a little I strongly feel that over time you definitely will improve!
  • Don DeFazio   Oct 20, 2013 10:28 PM
    Thoughts on Exercise

    Julie,
    I agree! I started working with a trainer who specializes in fuctional movement and nutrition http://www.heartfitfmt.com/ about two years ago. I always had a BMI within normal range but now have a value of 21 better than ever in my life! I train 1 hour/day 5 days/week. I'm 67 and was diagnosed with MS in 1975. My exercise program has increased my overall daily activity level, functional capacity and balance just as you state. Exercise and weight control (as simple as reducing sugars - read Fat Chance by Dr. Rober Lustig, UCSF professor of endocrinology) are essential for maintaining good health in people with MS as well as anyone.
  • Beth   Oct 23, 2013 11:52 AM
    I was diagnosed with MS in 2004. I had been exercising all my life, before the diagnosis and after. I firmly believe that activity has helped in my MS . I have had to change or adapt my activities but I stay as active as possible.
  • Dardo Stack   Oct 28, 2013 12:14 PM
    Helps me for sure
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    David13O  Oct 28, 2013 9:20 PM
    I have been involved with Dr. Motl's research for years circa 2005. I'll check with ENRL to find the date. The exercise has helped me transition from early cane to no cane. My balance, attitude, and emotions have improved and I now have an exercise routine that I do each morning. I have also found that Lumosity.com has helped improve my attention and awareness.
  • bc8114  Oct 29, 2013 2:02 PM
    I'm in the Air Force. In May I started having tingling in my left foot and then my left eye started to go blurry when I was exercising or when my body would start to get really hot. I went to an optometrist and they said they could not see anything wrong with my eye. Then in June my left foot tingling moved to my leg and now also my right foot and leg. In Aug my fingertips really started to go numb and feeling like they were frozen, not to the touch but internally and when I put my head down towards my chest I get like an electrical shock down my back and legs. So I went to my doctor and they scheduled me for an MRI and that is when they noticed I have multiple brain lesions, left optic neuro lesions, and a lesion on my spine. They then were telling me that I had simptomes of MS and had me do lots of blood work. Now they were telling me that I did not meet the criteria for MS because I had to have a period of 30 days with no symptoms and then get them back. Now as of the 21st my neurologist said I do meet criteria after he went back through my medical records and sees that I have been having problems off and on just nobody looked into MS or had me do and MRI. Well my fingers have not gotten any better but my legs and eye seem to be doing better except when I go running. I do feel better when I am exercising though. Now the hospital has given me Avonex but I am still waiting on someone to come to the house to show me how to use the auto injector. I hope that the Avonex helps my hands and fingers. I also hope that Avonex is going to be the right thing for me.
  • Jerry Petryk   Nov 1, 2013 11:37 AM
    Thanks for reminding me. It's so easy to get into the habit of just moving from one comfortable position to another and letting things go by....
  • connie   Nov 10, 2013 11:15 AM
    I agree.I exercise every morning and walk on my breaks at work when i can. I ride horse as much as the weather allows me.(I live in North Dakota). I feel so much better. I found out I had MS 11 years ago.
  • sandersbabs  Nov 18, 2013 8:06 AM
    I have tried to exercise, but most days my legs will not corporate. I love to walk but I can only walk a short block or two before the leg pain and cognitive issues start. One time I tried to walk on the track at our local park and I barely made it back to the car. From that day forward I decided not to walk alone, but it is hard to get people to walk with me.
  • michael dunn   Nov 19, 2013 7:58 AM
    hi, everyone! i have only had ms for about two years,well when i was told. started out that i needed neck surgery , then other. in all the mri`s there was something there in each mri . i started not being ale to pick my feet up & went numb from my hips down . shortly after that my hands went numb. so i go to neog.dr. they found ligions in my brain & spine. im 51 yr.old i have worked construstion all my life.im not much on going to a gym, but i force myself to do my up keep on my house & land.what i could do in afew hours before ms, now takes days. but the more i set my mind on the goal ,or task . i have found i hurt at first, but later i feel better. its always good at the end of your day , to look back and see you did get it done. never give in , if all you can do is small , then start small. you might find it helps ! i hope i have helped ? this is a great site and im very glad to have found it.
  • Suzie   Jan 1, 2014 1:10 PM
    @. Baby doll, I have that same problem. I was sent to a nutritionalist who recommended small frequent meals. I like to prep in the AM for the day or even a couple days. Let me know how you're doing. Hugs, Suzie
  • Kelly   Jul 28, 2015 5:56 PM
    I exercise regularly. I started a better routine a few years ago and it really helps.
  • Patricia Benjamin   Aug 24, 2015 9:23 AM
    I am an Aquatic Fitness Professional that will be teaching a class called MS Solutions that will be held at the MUV Fitness facility in Spokane Valley,WA.
    This class is designed specifically for persons with MS. For more information please call 208-699-5077. Class begins Sept.21 and runs through Dec. 9th. Sign-up through Spokane Falls Community College ACT 2.
  • Becky Pelsor   Oct 27, 2015 7:20 PM
    I agree with the positive effects exercise for me on my MS. I started going to Curves 3 months ago, I try to go 3 days a week for the 30 minute circuit workout and stretching. It has improved my depression! I get out and socialize, the stretching improves my stiffness. Although I feel better about myself there is no improvement to my fatigue, but hey I feel lucky I can still do these classes.
  • Debbiedoc  Nov 14, 2015 8:36 PM
    I am going for an Physical and Occupational Therapy evaluation next week. Right now, my legs are intermittently so weak I can barely stand or walk for long periods...sometimes even short periods of time. How am I expected to exercise? I would think it would makes things worse while I am in an MS relapse. My fatigue levels come on all of the sudden and are quite overwhelming if I exert myself doing housework. What are your thoughts?
  • babycuddles  Nov 14, 2015 10:38 PM
    I agree with this completely. I started aquatic therapy at the end of August and it has done wonders for me! Even after the therapy is done I will continue to go to the pool and exercise.
  • sarahrivka   Dec 17, 2015 1:20 AM
    I am trying to find research or any info on the connection between mononucleosis and ms---I am convinced that my bout of mono was a trigger when i was just a teen--- I am now 65!!!
    Does anyone else believe that there is a connection?
    Just an inquisitive ms mind looking for an answer and help before I kick!!!!---(i hope that I have a few more years in me and I would LOVE to enjoy them fatigue free...)
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    gjlisGLORIA  Jan 7, 2016 9:47 AM
    To read that regular activity is similar in exercise to a planned exercise routine helped to encourage me. Thanks! This explains why I feel so much better once I keep active (especially out doors meeting other people in town. To me, however, it is still just the challenging matter of pulling me away from the bed of MS fatigue!
  • Eugenia Holliday   Feb 13, 2016 11:19 AM
    while looking for thoights on not using a cane, I happened here -- I don't have MS but do have Neuropathy in legs and feet -- not painful - my balance is affected and I take therapy- in the 3yrs I've had it, I've not used a caneb elieving it best to rely on developing my own strength. My therapist psshes using a cane and said if I don't the
    next thing I woiod need would be a walker!! Am I wrong in not using a cane Thank You for your answer
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    livelovelaugh4ever  Feb 25, 2016 8:43 PM
    I am new to this whole MS mess. I have been doing some reading on the site and I wonder why for some people it takes years to diagnose their MS. I am worried that will happen to me even though I clearly have so many of the symptoms listed in many of the MS books I have read and I have a "spot" on my brain. What more do the doctors need to diagnose and treat? If not treated for years do your symptoms and prognoses worsen? Frightened
  • Robyn   Mar 12, 2016 6:08 PM
    Hello. I was diagnosed in 2008 and finally won my case and began SSDI in 2012. From There on i got proceedingly worse and my doctor started talking about progressive MS . I begged her for LDN. She thought it would be a placebo effect. She honored my request and I started to get better . I was in an almost vegetative state while utilizing a wheelchair .

    As time went on I started seeing a holistic chiropractic doctor . I did a cleanse. I also received his therapy five days a week which included a lot of stretching by the doctor . It appeared to be working .

    After that I decided to go alkaline . That made me feel almost like a miracle was happening . Alkaline lifestyle is very expensive which I did not have enough money . During the time of my experiment which lasted 30 days, two weeks, I felt stronger so I started to go walking with short bursts of jogging.

    Someone saw me jogging and shopping which I had not been shopping in approximately six or eight years. They reported me to Social Security. Social Security made the determination and said that there must be some substantial improvements so they think I can work now. That period of my life lasted two weeks!! Every since than I have been sick!

    I no longer have Social Security disability and this came shortly after I moved to another state. I no longer have a vehicle. I'm still raising my two younger children were in high school. And I have not yet made any friends. I cannot read documents because the words are too small and close together and the words just move around on the page. My disability lawyer is in the previous state I lived in and cannot help me. The only disability lawyers around here are approximately 300 miles away. I could not write Social Security disability to inform them of their incorrect therory.

    I am using voice to text to write this. It is very difficult to correct my typos.

    Exercise definitely helps. But apparently not enough because I cannot go to work and I have since discovered by a doctor that I have calcification in my feet thus not able to even wear a shie on my left foot .

    I no longer have medical insurance and my tribal health clinic is three hours away in another state .

    Without income I cannot stay where I am currently living. I do not live in a town where there is work readily available along with housing. I cannot work. I'm devastated. Very dark thoughts run through my head although I try to stay positive and keep trying to come up with new ways to alleviate my situation . My friends are so far away and when I looked near them they were so busy with work and their own families that they barely had time for anything else. So I am also isolated .

    I was a marketing and sales manager . I worked in healthcare for 30+ years and even took care of para and quadriplegic clients in their own home . I also took care of many people with MS. I was given many tools to take care of myself I guess . All because I exercised to rehabilitate my muscles after laying in bed for seven straight months.

    Just before my divorce, I literally crawled to my treadmill and pulled myself up. Even though the experience only lasted a few seconds, each time I returned to Fred no just before my divorce, I literally crawled to my treadmill and pulled myself up. Even though the experience only lasted a few seconds, each time I returned to The treadmill, I accomplished a little bit more until I was stable enough to stand on my own. It was long and exhausting not to mention the pain, fatigue and pure loss of energy . I did whatever I had to do to regain my strength.

    I have my children and I have a strong faith in God. I feel at this point that is all I have left.

    I am devastated, scared, feeling more helpless than ever and ...

    Exercise only works under the proper conditions. You also have to eat properly and is a very expensive habit. If one does not have the money to support proper eating, vitamins and minerals, medications and treatments : exercise will only last for a very short time. Be careful where your exercising and who you're talking to! you will not be given proper rights . Apparently we are not supposed to take care of herself when we are living on disability income . If we show any improvement, they don't see that it's just a good day or good week .

    God bless all of you with the terrifying fight we must endure! Try keeping your sanity. I'm on a very fine line ...
  • Julie HM   Sep 13, 2016 4:03 PM
    Hi there. I am so thrilled to read this website. I have likely had MS around the age of 13 but I was diagnosed in 2004 as I had a major attack on my entire right side of my body. I was diagnoses with relapse remitting at that time. I now have secondary progressive. I am currently 54 years old.

    I have been doing Crossfit now for 3 years. The owner of the box I work out in trained me in my back yard and in my home for the first year. For the past 2 years I have worked out in the box. I find that I gain energy back from working out, it is quite interesting. People look at me strange when I say I do crossfit as they believe that this would simply be impossible for someone with MS. I do modify the workout to suit my ability of the day. Some days when I work out I do half of the workout, other days when I am stronger I can do the whole thing. I am proud to be doing it even though some days I can't do much. I checked my ego at the door a long time ago.

    I find that the variety of work outs and movements in crossfit really help to stabilize my core. I love the weight lifting and believe it or not when you raise the bar without weights it works you out pretty good. I'm not going in for time I go in to the best I can do for that day.
  • Ailene   Jan 22, 2017 4:33 PM
    I'm very encouraged to see this research, as walking and practical physical activity work best for me on a day to day basis. My question is when I experience increased numbness in my left leg, is it better for me to continue getting my 10,000 daily steps, even if I have to walk more slowly/takes longer or should I reduce my number of steps? My concern is that pushing too hard might make the numbness worse.
  • Elizabeth M Wiese   Apr 5, 2017 5:10 PM
    Seven years ago I experienced a major MS attack which "up-graded" my MS from mild to moderate. I refused to accept drooling, slurring my words and very limited walking as a way of life so I begun working out a little. Except for my neurologist, no one encouraged me, not even my husband. I soon discovered that I slept better when I exercised and for a long time sleep was my only motivation. Fast forward seven years, I'm working out 5 days a week, the MS symptoms have lessened and my walking has drastically improved - not only are my steps bigger I have much more stamina ( which is so rewarding!) Yes, it's very, very difficult to go to the gym when I feel tired but I'm still motivated by a peaceful nights sleep but also knowing that I will thank myself afterwards. Simple excersise has POSITIVELY impacted my MS - I wish everyone would try it.
  • Cindy   Feb 25, 2019 6:43 PM
    Funny, 2017 I began walking, taking yoga, and went to a gym with a pool, and cut sugar and began to eat very healthy all with the help of 5 mg of oxycodone to ease the pain. Now the doctors recomend other meds that just make me sick. No more pain pills. NO MORE QUALITY OF LIFE.
    And the doctors want me to exercise. That is just hysterical.