Sunday, November 20, 2016

Exercise and Multiple Sclerosis

National MS Society
“Multiple Sclerosis (MS) represents a chronic, often disabling disease characterized by destruction of the myelin sheath that surrounds CNS (central nervous system) nerve fibers.”2 Scientists and physicians have yet to determine what causes MS, however due to the destruction of the nerve fibers there is a loss in the transmission to the brain.  Due to the little known about MS and the fact that there are no two cases alike, victims of MS are at a disadvantage.1

What physicians do know 2 :
  • 2 or more areas of demyelination confirm the diagnosis  
  • Usually develops between the ages of 20 and 40
  • Fatigue is the most common symptom
  • Frequently a history emerges of transient neurologic deficits that include extremity numbness, weakness, blurred vision and double vision in childhood or adolescence prior to more persistent neurologic deficits that lead to the definitive diagnosis.

Exercise as a prescription 2:
*Change in temperature has an effect on a person with MS, therefore, when their body temperature changes they have a hard time tolerating the pain and exercise becomes more difficult. Because of this a workout should be around 10-30 minutes; whatever the person can handle. Also, keeping with the health-related fitness components a person with MS is able to be healthy while living with their condition.
  • Aerobic: working on the cardiorespiratory systems by riding a stationary bike, walking, or doing water aerobics.
  • Strength: working on muscular strength to help avoid injuries and keep good posture by working with low weight, resistance bands, or using their own body weight (e.g. body squats)
  • Balance: working on controlling all the muscles in the body to maintain stability while doing everyday activities by doing basic balance exercises like walking on a straight line or picking a single leg up at a time.
  • Flexibility: working to keep a full range of motion is important so that they are able to reach for something or stay more mobile, by doing simple stretches this is achievable.
Keeping the body physically healthy may not be able to cure MS, but it can help keep the body in better shape. Exercise can help the muscles, bones, and joints while also keeping the person suffering with MS in more positive state of mind. This is because exercise has so many positive effects! One should always try exercise when they think everything is against them, because nothing can get them down, not even MS!!

1Society, N. M. (2016, November 2). Retrieved from MS: National Multiple Sclerosis Society:
2William D. McArdle, F. I. (2007). Exercise Physiology; Energy, Nutrition, & Human Performance. Maryland: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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