The Longevity Exercise Physiology Team in Drummoyne,EdgecliffMarrickville,Bella Vista, Randwick, Lindfield and Balmain see many people living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and know first-hand the positive benefits of exercise for those with all types of MS. In today’s blog, we discuss why exercise is so important and what type of exercise you should be doing.

A question we get asked a lot at Longevity is: How does exercise actually help MS?

▪ Exercise reduces the impact of common MS symptoms such as fatigue, pain, spasticity and weakness. Muscles that are not used regularly become weak and fatigue quickly, which in turn makes everyday tasks feel harder. Increasing muscle mass, strength and aerobic fitness helps break this fatigue cycle by making everyday tasks feel easier and improves energy levels.

▪ Exercise increases the connectivity between brain regions, and it is thought that increased brain connectivity may protect against fatigue, cognitive decline and reduced function in affected limbs.

▪ Exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy weight, independence, and managing depression and anxiety associated with living with a chronic disease.

‘Increasing muscle mass, strength and aerobic fitness helps break this fatigue cycle by making everyday tasks feel easier and improves energy levels’.

How much and what type of exercise should I do?

A combination of aerobic, strength, balance and mobility training are essential for managing MS symptoms, protecting against co-morbidities and improving overall wellbeing.

Aiming to achieve The Australian Physical Activity Guidelines is a great starting goal. This is a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity OR 75 minutes of high intensity aerobic activity AND 2 resistance training sessions per week.

Aerobic activity can consist of walking, running, cycling, swimming, aerobics classes, etc. Whereas resistance training consists of exercises causing muscles to contract against external resistance. This can be anything from lifting your own body weight, free weights, machine weights, etc.

Courtney demonstrates 2 bodyweight exercises you can do with the assistance of a chair

Mobility training is also very important for those with MS because this decreases muscle tightness and prevents loss of range of motion which may occur with decreased activity, weakness, or spasticity.

Consider when exercising…!

Fatigue: is common issue with MS, so understanding a time of day where you feel the most engaged and energised to undertake exercise is key for building consistency.

Heat: Some symptoms are exacerbated with an increase in body heat. Exercising during the cool periods of the day and carrying a water bottle with you can aid in keeping your body temperature at a constant level.

Our Exercise Physiologists are experts in prescribing exercise that addresses your individual challenges and goals.

Call Longevity 1300 964 002 to discuss your exercise options!

Written By Courtney Maher