Exercising with MS: Why and How
Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. By now, you are tired of people in your life telling you how exercise will do you good. Your doctors, your friends, your family and people at work talk about exercise like it is a cure-all treatment. There is no way that it could help your MS that much, is there?
In actuality, exercise is truly one of the most important activities you can do for yourself. Not only is exercise linked to many positive benefits, not exercising has many negative ramifications. If you have been avoiding, ignoring or lying to yourself and others about your level of exercise, reconsider.
This article will provide you with the information needed to make a more informed choice about exercise in your life including physical benefits, mental benefits, how these benefits occur, and barriers to starting an exercise plan. Options of different exercises, sports and activities specific for your desired results will also be explored.
Forget everything you think you know about exercise and start fresh for a new perspective.
The physical benefits of exercise are as vast as they are well-documented. Certainly, you don’t need a refresher, but here comes one anyway.
A regular routine of exercise and physical fitness can go a long way towards improving a person’s physical health and well-being. Risk of physical problems like obesity, diabetes, low back pain, osteoporosis and even some types of cancer lessens with exercise, and exercise helps maintain bone density, helps increase quality and quantity of sleep and increases lung capacity. In addition, exercise also improves healthy lifestyle habits like diet.
If your goal is to improve your physical health, exercise is the clear choice.
Perhaps the best introduction to the mental benefits of exercise is a story about a man who was very depressed due to his physical health. The man had been quite ill due to a serious heart condition. He was so frustrated and hopeless that suicide seemed like the only choice.
Because his heart was weak, he thought the best way to complete suicide was to run around the block as fast as he could until he his heart stopped; this way he could avoid embarrassment and the stigma attached to suicide. He took off running faster than he had in years. Several minutes into the experiment, still alive, he gave up unsuccessful.
The next day, he tried again and failed. Day after day, he tried with the same result. He failed at suicide, but began to succeed at living. To his surprise, he discovered that he began to feel better and eventually chose to live instead of to die.
This is only anecdotal, but a good representation of the power of exercise. By running, this man was able to change the way his body worked. By changing his body, he was able to change his mind, his thinking and his feelings. With MS targeting your body, your thoughts and your feelings, exercise may be the most efficient use of your limited time and energies.