YMCA Begins Multiple Sclerosis Exercise Program
Many people believe that exercising with multiple sclerosis is dangerous, or outright impossible. Thankfully, this is not the case. There are numerous stretches and exercises that can be very helpful for relieving symptoms, preventing attacks and relapses, and increasing one’s overall mood and energy. One YMCA in Montclair, New Jersey is gaining recognition for being one of the first recreation centers to provide One Step classes, an exercise program designed for multiple sclerosis patients.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society initiated this program, which was designed around the physical limitations of patients with multiple sclerosis, thus allowing them to become more active. The program was launched by the Provident Bank Foundation, and it has since increased the leg strength, flexibility, balance, and arm strength of its participants.
Meet with your doctor to know which exercises are suitable for you, since every MS patient has specific physical limitations.
- Before you work on a muscle group, always stretch. This will prevent injuries during exercise.
- Begin exercising in intervals of 5 or 10 minutes for up to 30 minutes.
- Stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids.
- Environmental hazards should be avoided. Be careful if the floor is slippery or if there are tripping hazards.
- Avoid getting overheated.
Below are some exercises that can be beneficial for multiple sclerosis patients:
- Yoga: This strengthens the muscles and joints. Often, depression and anxiety found in MS patients can be fought with yoga. It also calms and relaxes the mind, so it can greatly help patients with multiple sclerosis.
- Stretches: Stretching improves flexibility and balance. Do slow stretches to feel the pull of the muscles and ligaments. However, to avoid injuries, do not push beyond your limits.
- Aquatic therapy: Water regulates the body temperature and prevents overheating, and it helps increase flexibility, strength, and balance, as well. To increase resistance, try using foam dumbbells.
- Weightlifting: Some people battling multiple sclerosis enter bodybuilding competitions. However, discuss this with your doctor before going into it.
- Tai Chi: Because they have a low impact on the body, martials arts are a good exercise option for multiple sclerosis patients. They help increase balance, flexibility, and strength. Rather than aggression, the main focus is on balance and self-defense.
- Recumbent bicycling: Upright bicycling can pose many challenges for those suffering from MS. In order to keep the body upright while bicycling, the back and core are often strained. Recumbent bikes, however, provide support for the core and use a reclining seat, so they are a great alternative for MS patients who enjoy cycling.
- Aerobics: Another fantastic alternative for MS patients is aerobics. For those struggling with breathing, aerobic exercise can help, and they also promote flexibility and balance. In patients with MS, aerobics promote increased memory and mood as well.
People with MS should not let physical disabilities keep them from being active. Classes, instructors, and videos are offered by organizations such as the YMCA and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to encourage physical activity. MS patients need not stick to one routine, either; there are a variety of exercises available. Joint pain and stiffness can be prevented by exercising frequently, and this in turn can help prevent MS relapses and attacks. Be sure to discuss fitness programs with your doctor or physical therapist before starting any exercises.