Exercise can be very helpful for people with multiple sclerosis and can, for some, even ease symptoms.
Getting regular exercise is a good idea for anyone, but for the estimated 400,000 Americans living with multiple sclerosis (MS), there are specific benefits of exercise worth knowing about.
Doctors used to recommend that people with MS avoid exercise entirely for fear of aggravating their symptoms. Now, a great deal of evidence suggests that regular exercise not only improves quality of life for people with MS, but may also help ease symptoms and minimize the risk of certain complications down the road.
“Exercise has beneficial effects even if you have some physical limitations from your MS,” says Fred Lublin, MD, a neurologist and director of the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
Getting Started With Exercise
Kathleen Costello, a nurse practitioner and associate vice president of clinical care for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, recommends seeking the help of a physical therapist to determine which exercises would be most beneficial for you.
“Just as MS is a very individualized disease,” Costello says, “no one size or form of exercise fits all.”
Costello also advises consulting your doctor about what type of regimen is best for you and choosing an activity you enjoy, because you’re more likely to stick with it. She cautions that you may need to adapt workouts as your disease progresses.
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