Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord (also together called the central nervous system). MS can cause problems with muscle control and strength, vision, balance, feeling, and thinking.
It’s important to be active when you have MS because it helps you:
No, exercise doesn’t make MS worse. But if you have MS, you may find that you feel more tired and get overheated more quickly when you start becoming more physically active.
If you have mild to moderate MS, the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for adults with MS recommend that adults ages 18 to 64 years old need at least:
Once you’re able to do both of these exercises, 2 times a week, you can try to slowly:
In addition to aerobic and strength-training activities, there are many different types of physical activity and exercise that you can do when you have MS, such as:
You may need to make changes (called modifications) to some of these exercises, so they are easier to do. You will have a better chance of staying physically active when you find an exercise program that:
Talk to your doctor, physiotherapist, or a certified exercise professional about an exercise program that’s right for you.
Fatigue is feeling tired or exhausted. When you have fatigue, you often need to rest more because of a lack of energy or strength.
When you become more physically active, you may feel more tired than usual. As this may prevent you from staying active, it’s important to modify exercise to help you manage fatigue. You may find it helps to:
Uhthoff’s phenomenon causes MS symptoms to get worse as your body temperature goes up. This can lead to overheating when you exercise or do other activities that raise your body temperature, such as:
This is related to changes in the nerve coatings (called myelin sheath) that happen with MS. It’s not related to any new inflammation or worsening of MS.
Overheating can also make fatigue worse.
The following tips can help you keep your body cooler while you exercise:
Find out more about the
benefits of exercise when you have MS.
Current as of: September 15, 2019
Author: Out-Patient Treatment in Multiple Sclerosis (OPTIMUS)- Alberta Health Services
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