Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition that affects around 100,000 people in the UK, and roughly three times as many women are affected by MS than men. MS is different for everyone, but symptoms may include fatigue, vision problems and difficulty walking. There are different types of MS, and even people with the same type will not experience the same symptoms. Mostly people are diagnosed between the ages of 20-40. Around 85 percent of people who are diagnosed have relapsing remitting MS, with this people experience distinct attacks of symptoms which then fade away either partially or completely. Many people with this type go on to have secondary progressive MS, which means they have a sustained build-up of disability, completely independent of any relapses. Primary progressive MS affects about 10-15 percent of people diagnosed, and symptoms gradually get worse over time, rather than appearing as sudden attacks (Multiple Sclerosis Society).
However MS affects you, there are exercises that will be helpful, so you can stay as healthy and fit as possible, and may improve some of your symptoms and their effects. There is no right or wrong exercise. However, the nature of MS may mean that you have to be more aware of what you can achieve than someone who doesn’t have MS. Exercising regularly will keep your body working to its full potential. It is important that you enjoy exercise to get the full benefit. “Don’t give up, the endorphins released during exercise give a feel good factor better than pain killers! Be pleased with what you can do, however little it may seem.” Josephine, Kenley
Benefits of exercise for those diagnosed with MS:
- Improve your overall health
- Help people stay as mobile and active as possible
- Help you manage the symptoms of MS
- Improve muscle strength and fitness, helping with mobility and weakness issues.
- Help manage weight control, especially when combined with a healthy well balanced diet.
- Help manage weight control, especially when combined with a healthy, well-balanced diet
(Multiple Sclerosis Society).
Getting fit and keeping fit will help your body and mind stay as healthy as possible and you may even surprise yourself what you’re actually capable of. By finding the right kind of environment and exercise, you can potentially stop your problems becoming worse than they need be.
For the last 5 years, I have been working closely with a lady with MS, and she has definitely had both her ups and downs throughout. I have been very much part of her journey and have been there to support her no matter what. We do lots of different exercises, aiming to improve her strength, flexibility and balance, which in turn improves her mind set and allows her to believe in herself once again. We are very reactive, I go to each session with a generalised plan in my head, but it is not always possible to follow the plan, sometimes we do more and other times we need to back off, but we always achieve something and most importantly no session is wasted. Most of the training sessions have taken place in her home, but we have mixed it up and gone to the local pool to do some hydro based activities. I love working with this lady and feel a sense of pride/achievement after each and every session, and can’t wait for the next one to come around. I often receive texts such as:
“Couldn’t believe it J but no hip or lower back pain when I woke up, first time in ages”
“Thank you Faye! The stretches and balance exercises were great J feel so much looser and relaxed. Looking forward to next week”
“Every week I can do a bit more. It’s been fantastic!”
Working with people like this is why I do my job. I love it and could not imagine a more rewarding career. If you would like a chat with myself or this lady about her experiences please don’t hesitate to get in touch, as I would very much like to be part of your journey too.