MS: Five excellent exercises to ease advancing symptoms

Some exercises ease MS symptoms. Learn about five recommended exercises and how they strengthen the body for better symptom management. Photo: Lululemon Athletica

CHICAGO November 9, 2012 - The symptoms of advancing MS, or multiple sclerosis, can be eased or compensated for with regular exercise. Working out will improve your balance, strength, flexibility, mobility, and reduce the risk of certain complications. It keeps the heart strong, lowers stress, and may boost self-esteem. 

Before sliding into a pool or pumping iron, consult with your doctor or physical therapist. When exercising, keep the word moderation in mind. Too much exercise will over-tax your muscles and cause pain. 

1. Weight Lifting 

Weight lifting is a physical activity that uses the force of a muscle against some type of resistance to increase muscle strength, size, and endurance. Lifting weights will strengthen your body making it less prone to injury. It will also help you bounce back faster if you are injured. 

2. Yoga (asanas) 

Yoga is the performance of different postures or poses to balance the body’s energy, increase flexibility, and build strength. Practicing yoga has been shown to reduce fatigue in patients with MS as well.  

Practicing yoga involves breathing deeply and effectively. This focus on the breath may help you develop a habit of breathing properly even as you veg on the couch. Effective breathing supports all aspects of well being. For example, it increases blood circulation and relieves anxiety or tension. 

3. Water Exercise 

Pool exercises include stretching, lifting weights, and aerobics to strengthen the heart muscle. If you have problems with overheating, exercising in a pool will keep you cool.  

In water, you may be more flexible than when you are topside, and since water supports the body all movements becomes easier. It is possible you will do exercises in the pool that you could not perform on land.  

4. Tai chi 

Tai chi, also called Tai chi chuan, is an ancient Chinese tradition now practiced as a graceful type of exercise. It involves a series of slow movements performed with a focused mind and coordinated with the breath.

The movements are gentle, self-paced, and continuous. Each one flows seamlessly into the next. This low-impact exercise results in better balance, flexibility, and strengthens the abdominal area and lower back. 

5. Balance Ball 

Balance balls are large inflatable balls about knee high. They are usually used on the floor to support the body during exercises. 

A simple movement performed on a ball engages nearly every muscle in the body to maintain balance. This helps train major muscle groups (abdominals, lower back, hips) and sensory organs to compensate for loss of balance owed to signal disruptions in the cerebellum.  

Do you want to know more about MS? There is a wealth of information at

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Jacqueline Marshall

Jacqueline Marshall is a writer for Help For Depression, and freelances primarily in the areas of psychology and personal development. She has a MA in Counseling Psychology and is a licensed therapist living near Chicago.

Jacqueline has experience helping those diagnosed with severe, persistent mental illness, and in providing general therapy services for individuals, couples, and families. Prior to counseling, she worked in graphic design and music education.

When not writing or counseling, Jacqueline enjoys reading literature and math-less books about quantum physics. She is a published poet, and has studied animal communication and energy healing.  


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