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Multiple Sclerosis: Benefits of Exercise

Topic Overview

Exercise is an important part of home treatment for people who have multiple sclerosis (MS). It has benefits in both early and advanced stages of the disease. Regular exercise can help you:

  • Maintain muscle strength and improve coordination.
  • Maintain and increase endurance.
  • Improve flexibility and range of limb motion.
  • Improve cardiovascular fitness.
  • Prevent pressure sores.
  • Control weight.
  • Reduce the likelihood of becoming constipated.

Exercise can also promote a sense of well-being and improve your mood.

A physical therapist can help you learn exercises and stretches to do at home to improve posture, strength, flexibility, and endurance.

A physical or occupational therapist can also help you to:

  • Plan more efficient movements for daily living activities (such as bathing and dressing) so that these activities are easier and less tiring.
  • Improve balance and walking.
  • Use walking aids (such as canes or walkers) correctly.

There are also seated exercises for the person who cannot walk but can move the limbs and trunk. There are exercises to help with coordination and balance, which are often a problem for people who have MS.

Abnormal muscle stiffness (spasticity) can be relieved by doing exercises while lying in certain positions.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Barrie J. Hurwitz, MD - Neurology
Last Revised February 15, 2012

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