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Increasing strength without increasing problems
November 26, 2013
I have noticed that my leg muscles always feel like I've been exercising, which I think means they are weak. I have to walk up 3 flights of stairs to get to my apartment, but I only leave the house 1-3 times a week. When I'm outside, I usually can walk up to 6 blocks, but I better be able to sit and rest for a while before it's time to go back.
Should I try to increase strength through exercise? Or are my muscles working hard enough as it is? I already stretch every day when I wake up, but I'd also like to do a regular exercise routine if I can.
– To exercise, or not to exercise
Nurse Susan replies:
I think that exercise is a good thing for many people with MS. Before you make a decision on what exercise you want to do, it's important to clear it with your doctor first. There are many different exercise programs you can do to make your muscles stronger and more limber. Swimming, yoga and Pilates are some popular forms of exercise for people with MS. Also, remember that exercise is just one aspect of an overall treatment plan, so be sure to also stay on top of any medications, doctor's visits, and monitoring that are also part of your plan.
When you do start exercising, remember to be aware of overheating. If you get too hot, it can aggravate your MS symptoms and make you feel weak or fatigued. I would always make sure you have a way to stay cool. There are a bunch of cooling products out there you can buy specifically for exercise (cooling wristbands, neck coolies, etc.). Always have cold water with you, and remember to take a break if you feel too hot.
— Nurse Susan, MS One to One® Nurse
Helping since 2012