Physical activity may help ease MS symptoms.

by Aviva Patz

“There are so many times when I wake up and everything hurts so bad—my knees are tight as a drum—and I force myself to do yoga,” he says. “Then I do it and I loosen up—everything relaxes, I relax. And I think, ‘how could I not want to do this?’”Dan Melfi was used to bicycling up and down mountains in his home state of Colorado when he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2009 at age 58. Now, he needs some assistance to walk—a walker, scooter, forearm crutches and, occasionally, a wheelchair. He’s a bigger advocate than ever of an active lifestyle. He goes to an MS swim class twice a week, which he enjoys because it helps him move all parts of his body without fear of falling, and he practices yoga.
Beyond the benefits for overall health—lowering heart disease risk and blood pressure, improving sleep, boosting bone health—research suggests that exercise helps people with MS improve aerobic capacity, muscle strength, balance and other factors that make it easier to get around, while also enhancing cognition, fatigue and mood. A 2010 study in the journal Brain Research suggests that exercise may even help stop MS from progressing.
“It’s the fountain of youth,” says Denis Avans, a wellness-fitness coordinator and certified personal trainer with Alabama Neurology. “If you could put the effects of exercise in a pill, it could be the most potent medicine of all.”
Here’s what you need to know to put physical activity to work for you.

New evidence for exercise

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Friday, 21 February 2020

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