Multiple Sclerosis and Exercise

Exercise can help ease the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, but it's important to be careful if you want your workouts to be successful. The most important thing to remember is to not overdo it.

No doubt you’ve heard the sayings "no pain, no gain" or "feel the burn," but that’s not good advice when you have MS. Do too much, and you can end up straining your muscles, increasing pain, and putting too much stress on your body and your mind. Never exercise to the point of fatigue.

Check with your doctor before you start any fitness program. He may make recommendations about:

  • The types of exercise that are best for you and those you should avoid. The right moves depend on your symptoms, fitness level, and overall health.
  • How long and intense your workouts should be
  • Any physical limitations for your routines
  • Other professionals, such as a physical therapist, who can help you build a personal exercise program that meets your needs



Tips for Safe Exercise

  • Always warm up before you start a workout and cool down at the end.
  • If you plan to work out for 30 minutes, start with 10-minute workout sessions and work your way up.
  • Exercise in a safe place. Avoid slippery floors, poor lighting, throw rugs, and other tripping hazards.
  • If you have trouble with your balance, exercise within reach of a grab-bar or rail.
  • Stop working out any time you feel sick or you begin to hurt.
  • Choose an activity you enjoy, and have fun with it! Try water aerobics, swimming, tai chi, and yoga, which often work well for people with MS.

What Should I Do if I Get Overheated?

Some people with MS are sensitive to heat, which means they notice that their symptoms either show up or get worse when their body temperature rises. This will happen when you exercise. Here are some tips to avoid overheating.

  • Don't exercise during the hot part of the day (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Try to work out in the morning or evening if you're exercising outside.
  • Drink plenty of cool water.
  • Be aware of your body. If you notice any symptoms that you didn't have before you started exercising, slow down or stop until you cool down.
  • Swimming and water aerobics are good ways to stay cool while you work out. Just make sure that there are non-slip floors in the locker room and around the pool.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Neil Lava, MD on November 11, 2017



Multiple Sclerosis Society: "Exercise."

Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis: "Exercise."

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