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5 Simple and Energizing Exercises to Fight MS Fatigue

By Daryl H. Bryant (1180 words)
Posted in Living with MS on July 9, 2015

There are (2) comments permalink

5 Simple and Energizing Exercises to Fight MS Fatigue

One of the best ways to fight your chronic MS Fatigue is to exercise. When you maintain a regular exercise routine, you will improve your circulation and build your muscle memory. This will boost your energy and also help you maintain high energy levels throughout the day. These simple yet energizing exercises are perfect all year-round and will give you that boost without over-working your system.

Practice Yoga

Nothing will energize you more than a yoga routine in the morning. If you start your day with a meditative stretch and the release of your muscles, you’ll increase the blood flow throughout your body. This circulation will energize you for the morning, and you’ll notice this energy stick with you through the lunch hour. Try a few moves sitting on your bed once you wake up. Stretch your back with the Spinal Twist. Leave your feet flat on the floor, keeping your knees bent, and turn your upper body to the left and then to the right. Remember to inhale and exhale deeply on each turn. Then stand up and try the Tree Pose. Put more weight on your left leg as you lift your right foot up to your left knee. Let the bottom of your foot rest at the knee for a breath or two before you slowly drop it back down and repeat with the left foot. If your foot does not reach your knee, lift it as high as you can in order to get a good stretch. Practice these moves daily. Not only will they increase your circulation and energy, but they will reduce your stiffness and help you to be more mobile throughout the day.

Hit the Bike Trail

Bicycling is a great exercise you can do in order to strengthen muscles and increase your circulation. Increased circulation will help you fight off the fatigue brought on by your Multiple Sclerosis. Riding your bike also builds muscle memory to improve your balance. Start off slowly until you build your strength, and try not to ride at an incline. If you are on a stationary bike at the gym, choose an easy to moderate setting until you know how your body will react to cycling. Try cycling for 8-10 minutes per day until you are confident, then add on a few more minutes. In order to get the most out of your cycling routine, you can ride a recumbent bicycle at your gym in order to stay cool and comfortable. If you live near a park, easy bike paths with little to no elevation can be a great way to get outdoors. However, you’ll want to stay inside during the summer months to avoid overheating.

Lift Weights

You don’t need to be a part of Cross Fit in order to reap the benefits of lifting weights. For those with MS, weight lifting can be ideal for building muscle strength. Lifting will work out a series of muscles and muscle reactions. This will increase the neural communication between these muscles, not only improving their strength but also their muscle memory. When you have strong muscles, you’ll have the energy to do the things you want to do throughout the day. You are in control of the weights, so you choose how heavy and how fast you want to lift, and you can work with a physical therapist or trainer to help pinpoint the perfect routine for you. Try out a vertical bench press machine to work out your chest muscles. This workout will increase circulation around your heart that will increase your energy. Sit down at the machine with your back straight. This will relieve the tension on your knees and legs. Adjust the weights to lift only what is comfortable, concentrating on the contraction and extension of your muscles as you lift. You can complete this routine with free weights as well. Hold the weights in your hands and slowly lift them in a straight line above and behind your head. Try starting with 5lbs and increase from there.

Swim to Stay Cool

Water aerobics will keep your body temperature cool and reduce the impact and intensity of weight lifting and cardiovascular routines. If you translate the weight lifting routine mentioned above into a water routine, you will notice you can lift more and balance better without over-stressing your MS symptoms. Swimming laps is a simple routine that can be done in any pool, and it’s a great routine for those new to water aerobics. Swim the length of your pool 1-3 times and then rest for 5 minutes before starting again. Be sure not to over exert yourself as the water can make you feel lighter than you are. Once you feel comfortable swimming reps of 8-10 laps, you can move on to weight lifting in the water. If you are interested in water routines, consult with your doctor or physical therapist about routines and classes that specifically work with MS symptoms. For more information on the benefits of swimming, check out my blog from earlier this year. 

Tai Chi

According to the National MS Society, Tai Chi can improve your cardiovascular health - and strengthening your heart is one of the surest ways to increase your energy! Get the most out of your Tai Chi routine by practicing the following moves in the morning or in the early evening hours before bed. It’s often best to practice Tai Chi at night because it is perfect for relieving stress, which can cause sleep problems and exacerbate other MS symptoms when we least expect it. Similar to yoga, Tai Chi is a meditative exercise routine that boosts energy, builds muscle strength, and improves mobility. Start by standing with both feet firmly on the ground. Breathe slowly and imagine roots extending from your feet and anchoring you to the earth. Then slowly lift your right foot to your left knee and extend your right arm out in front of you. Lift your left arm above your head and arc it back behind you and then out in front of you. Hold it there and repeat the move with the right arm. Arc it behind your head as you slowly lower your right foot and lift your left. Let your body move with the motion of your arms, and repeat these moves until you wish to stop. Concentrate on the stretch and pull of your muscles, but keep your pace slow and meditative in order to strengthen your balance.

You can choose any of these simple exercises to help reduce your MS fatigue, but always confirm with your doctor and physical therapist before starting new routines or changing up your existing regimen. All of these workouts are low-impact, and only a few are cardio, so listen to your body before upping your reps or extending your workout time. If you start to feel hot or thirsty, stop and take a break. You should always stay hydrated while working out, especially during the summer months. This will keep your body stress-free and your fatigue and other MS symptoms at bay.

Comments (2)

Meredith posted on: July 9, 2015

I've had friends with M.S. that exercised and are now in wheelchairs! I've had M.S. for over 36 years and don't exercise per se but go around the house doing stuff and am still walking - with a cane now but still walking! we all are different - oh and I've kept my weight down, too.

Laura posted on: October 12, 2015

I started bicycling this year and it has improved many aspects of my MS.
No cane, only meds (copaxone and Ampyra)
Oh and I have list weight too!! As a bonus!!

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