Strength training for multiple sclerosis
Strength training exercise increases muscles mass by making the muscles work harder then they are used to, usually involving some kind of weights. A balance exercise routine includes strength or resistance training, as well as aerobic, flexibility and balance activities.
In multiple sclerosis muscle weakness can result due to the loss of myelin, which helps to insulate nerves, causing messages from the brain through the spinal cord to the muscles to be blocked or slowed. This weakness can be temporary or more permanent and a period of inactivity could also cause a secondary weakness adding to the primary weakness already present.
Studies have shown that by taking part in strength training activities this secondary weakness could be reversed or even prevented. Also slowing down the progression of disability and improving quality of life.
General mobility, balance and fitness can be improved and everyday activities can be made easier by strengthening muscle groups.
Strength training can also help in the management of:
- Heart disease
- Back pain
And can improve:
- Muscle strength
- Energy levels
- Coordination and efficiency of muscles
- Improve mood giving feelings of well being
A specifically designed strength program will not have an adverse affect on the disease process nor make the symptoms worse. Any initial muscle soreness usually settles after a couple of days. Sometimes there may be a temporary worsening of sensory symptoms if the body temperature is increased during activity but generally subsides within an hour following activity.
People with unstable blood pressure or heart disease should obtain medical clearance from their doctor and ensure your program is designed by a trained professional. If you are experiencing a relapse of MS, or feeling unwell avoid strenuous exercise until you are feeling better.