Exercise and MS?

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Exercise and MS?

Postby raven » Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:01 am

I am considering buying a treadmill for exercise purposes. My rationale being that if I regularly exercise walking the brain will form new axonal connections and my ability to walk will increase. It also has the added benefit of handrails for when things get a bit wobbly :lol:

However a motorised treadmill is a reasonably substantial investment. As such I wondered if anyone had any experience of this. I don't want to spring for one of these, only to find out that it's of little use to me.

I have read various conflicting reports on the value of exercise for those with MS. Some reports say that it has value. Others postulate that we have an 'energy bank' and that we should conserve our energy as much as possible throughout the day.

I will try and discuss this with my physio but there is a vast sum of experience on this board and all input is welcome.

Robin
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Postby OddDuck » Tue Nov 02, 2004 5:16 am

Hi, Robin!

I went through the same pros and cons. I personally think the key here is "moderation". Don't overheat yourself, or over-exhaust yourself at all. Exercise until you get to the point where you just BEGIN to start feeling yourself slowing down. And keep it at a comfortable pace.....you don't necessarily need to speed. Don't do like other exercise instructions tell you...........to go past that point until you find your "zone" or get your so-called "second wind". That won't happen in MS. Once you BEGIN to feel even a tiny bit of struggle..............stop right then. I don't care if it's only walking for one minute the first time. Stop. Then the next time you try, you may find that you can go two minutes. Of course, I'm no expert (I say that a lot, don't I? LOL That's because I'm so opinionated, that I don't want anyone to think I actually know for SURE what I'm talking about! LOL)

Sometimes just resting for 15 minutes or so and then trying again is supposed to help. But you know what I did? I thought....to heck with that. If I can only go one minute, then that's it. Now I'm up to 20 minutes (I do stationary bike, which also has the thingys that exercise my arms, too), and I have found that that's all I can do. 20 minutes is my top. But.....I add stretching, and a little weight lifting with 2 pound weights (yea, I'm a wimp...LOL), and sometimes when I'm feeling spunky, I'll dance around the house to music. (With the blinds closed.) LOL And of course, I walk some. Especially at work!

I'm not sure what your current physical condition is right now, of course, but I know what you mean about the expense of a treadmill. Plus, if you have balance issues at all from time to time, a treadmill may end up not being the best thing (that's why I opted for the stationary bike. I figured I could "walk" around the house on my own, if I had to. Bumping into walls, but still........LOL) That was all last year, though. This year, I'm back to doing a little "jog" now and then, not to mention a little "jig", too.

(Uh oh........I'm in a "mood" today, huh?)

Seriously, though. I believe that moderate exercise is highly beneficial in MS. And yes, you do still have to factor in your energy bank.

You know what else I've read many times, though, and what I myself found was the best to do? Exercise in the evening. For people like us with a finite amount of energy, it's the best time since we don't have to worry about "overdoing" thereby compromising our abilities for the rest of the day, AND contrary to the rest of the world, it actually HELPS us to rest and sleep at night if we exercise in the evening.

Well, I hope this helps in some small way. :? :P

Deb
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Postby raven » Tue Nov 02, 2004 5:47 am

Thanks Deb, it does help.

On reflection I think I've decided to approach a gym I used to go to, to see if they have personal trainers with any experience of MS.

At the moment my upper body is pretty much unaffected by MS and I could certainly do with some work in that dept as well :wink:

I used to be a very athletic person but in the last 3 years have done no exercise at all. I really miss a good workout.

Once again, thanks.

Robin
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Postby OddDuck » Tue Nov 02, 2004 5:53 am

You're very welcome!

And yes, if nothing else, you do come away with a big sense of accomplishment, ya know? Especially if MS symptoms are currently at a point where you feel........I don't know..........I just used to constantly say "doggone it!" all the time when I wasn't able to get my body to respond.

Don't some of the YMCAs offer MS related exercises in connection with the NMSS? Not to mention water exercise.

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Postby raven » Tue Nov 02, 2004 6:05 am

Don't some of the YMCAs offer MS related exercises in connection with the NMSS? Not to mention water exercise.


Possibly, but as I'm a Brit it would be a fair old trek to get there :wink:

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Postby SarahLonglands » Tue Nov 02, 2004 6:14 am

Raven, bearing in mind that you are trying to move away from being affected by MS, like me, why don't you try what I do? I felt I might benefit from a treadmill, but didn't feel like paying out for an electronic one, so I bought a magnetic one from an Australian company. It makes you work harder, because it doesn't do anything by itself. I spend ten minutes on it at a time, maybe three times a day, or whenever I feel like it. I also do pull-ups on the rail of the aga whenever I feel like it. I should go swimming 8O, but I hate the chlorine.

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Postby JFH » Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:27 am

Robin

If you're anywhere near NW London then I can give you the address of a small pay-as-you-go gym where one of the instructors has RRMS. A very determined lady and very encouraging. PM me if you want their number.

I'd certainly sign up to the gym first - even an expensive one like Holmes Place - to try out a variety of machines and take advice from the instruction team there. Concern they pointed out to me about treadmills was the strain placed on hips/knees/ankles and they suggested eliptical trainers better.

And this only goes to remind me that work commitments and medics appointments mean I haven't been exercising properly for two weeks. :(

Interesting to read the "exercise in the evening" Deb. I'll give it a try and maybe sleep through! (PS What does LOL stand for?)
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Postby raven » Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:39 am

Hi John

Thanks, I'm in Bristol so NW london is also a bit of a trek! I've rejoined the gym I used to go to ( incidently a Holmes Place one ). I spoke to the instructors there and have an appt on Monday to work out a personal exercise plan.

I considered elliptical trainers but they don't work on the muscles that I really need to exercise. Due to spasticity my major leg muscles are still pretty well toned. I really need to concentrate on the minor muscles that help with gait and balance.

Robin

p.s. LOL = Lots Of Laughs
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Postby OddDuck » Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:48 am

Oh! Robin, you're a Brit! How cool! I am SO tickled over having so many friends and acquaintances all over the world! Seriously.........How neat is that???

(What did we ever do without the internet?) :D

(And totally off subject..........today is "election day" here in the U.S. This ought to be a very interesting day!)

Oh, and Robin....you know what else is supposed to be good for gait and balance issues? Exercising with that huge "ball". Do they sell that over there? Pilates, it's called.

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Postby raven » Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:54 am

Deb, it's great having friends all over the world I agree.

Believe me the US election has not escaped us over here. It's constant news. (Wonder how much the pharmas contributed to the Bush campaign given Kerry's stance on the importation of Canadian meds :wink: )

I am sat on one of those huge balls as I type.... It's good for the balance... Looks ridiculous though but who cares :lol:

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Postby OddDuck » Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:24 am

I figured I'd fall over and bonk my noggin, if I started messing with one of those balls. (Of course, some might say that might knock some sense into me....hehehe..........)


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Postby art » Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:46 am

Exercise (and eating right) have made more difference for me in my MS than any of the drugs I have tried. I do resistance (weight) training rather than cardio and find that the added strength makes a huge difference.

I'm currently doing a workout that is pretty ideal for people with MS. The motion is slow and uses lower weights (but is very intense), you don't get overheated, and you only have to work out a couple times a week to see results. It was developed for women with brittle bones, but works great for MS (or healthy folks). Even during relapses I'm able to do the routine and feel good that I'm keeping my legs strong.

It's described rather well in this book:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/ ... 38-0598452

Even a few of my friends without MS have tried it and had great results (they saw the results in me - I lost 25 lbs and started looking much better)
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Postby magpie » Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:55 pm

Raven

You must be feeling on top of the world if you've just joined a gym! :wink:

I have never stopped exercising (except for my little interlude for a relapse last winter!).

I guess you just have to exercise when it's right for you and push yourself as far as you feel you are able to. You will pretty soon work out what your limits are. I work out first thing in the morning on the days that I don't work and then I have a nice relaxing soak and a sleep to recuperate (well, I'm not being lazy if I've exercised) :lol:

Exercise keeps me trim and happy. It is the one thing about my body that I feel I have control over. I use an exercise video, weights and an exercise bike and I usually manage about two and a half hours a week in total. Weight bearing exercises are the best for keeping your bones healthy, but you need to do exercises to help you maintain your balance also.

I am lucky in that I do not seem to get affected by being hot and sweaty! :wink:

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