Multiple sclerosis – why you should exercise

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own healthy tissue. Signals from the brain travel through the nerves via electrical impulses. Around these nerves, there is something called myelin. If you can imagine myelin as insulation around a wire, it allows the signal to travel uninterrupted along the wire or the nerves in our body in this case. When you have multiple sclerosis, the body actually breaks down this myelin (or insulation) around our nerves and therefore the signals sent from our brain along these nerves may only partly reach their destination or not be transmitted at all.

Why should I perform exercise?

Performing exercise if you have multiple sclerosis is very important. As exercise impacts upon the immune system, it is theorised that bouts of exercise can possibly lead to slowed progression of the disease or decrease the frequency of attacks. Unfortunately, exercise cannot cure you, but exercise can play a huge role in improving ones quality of life and being able to live with multiple sclerosis.

Some people when they are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis may not imagine exercise can help and instead may do the opposite and become less active due to fear of making things worse. This actually isn’t the case! Exercise has been proven to be a great way for one to manage the implications that multiple sclerosis may cause in ones day to day life. 

Things exercise can most definitely improve is reduce fatigue related to multiple sclerosis, increase ones strength, increase fitness, increase mood and even improve bowel and bladder control.

What exercise should I perform?

As multiple sclerosis has many different types and functions on a scale of symptom severity, every person who has the disease can present very differently. Therefore there is not “one size fits all” exercise program or “magic” exercise that will benefit everyone. Instead, a tailored exercise program created to suit your needs and goals would be best.

If you have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and wishing to take up exercise as one way to improve your quality of life, please, book in an assessment with our Physiotherapist’s or Exercise Physiologist who will listen to your needs and guide you to better health.

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