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Stay Active in the Fall with These 5 MS-Safe Activities

By Daryl H. Bryant (809 words)
Posted in Living with MS on September 24, 2014

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Stay Active in the Fall with These 5 MS-Safe Activities

September is the official start of the fall season, and now that it’s cool out, you can get some much needed relief from seasonal symptom outbreaks. If you suffer from Multiple Sclerosis, venturing outdoors and staying active can be very difficult, but this change to cooler weather makes outdoor exercises and activities easier on your body and much more enjoyable. Take advantage of this zesty weather and stay healthy and active this fall with these following activities: 

Walk around your neighborhood and enjoy the season

No one says your new fall workout routine has to be intense. If you can manage it, take a walk once or twice a day. Walking will help you stretch out your legs, ankles, and feet, which may help you avoid common symptoms like foot drops and numbness.

Take a stroll around your neighborhood in the morning or in the late afternoon and admire the changing of the leaves. If you’re within walking distance, head to the local park or playground, where there are plenty of benches for you to rest on if you get tired. A slow and leisurely walk can do wonders for your physical and mental health, giving you a chance to work out your body while giving your mind time to clear out your worries. 

Turn leaf raking into a fun activity

Speaking of leaves and colors, raking up all those red, yellow, and orange leaves in your yard is a great workout. You can focus on working your arms and back as you clean up your yard. If you want to bring your lower body into it, turn the raking into a full-blown workout routine by rotating your torso over your right leg and lunging forward, keeping your left leg stretched out behind you. Reach as far as you can with the rake, then stand up, pulling the rake forward. Turn and do it again, this time alternating legs. Start out doing four rake lunges at a time, then rest before you start again.

If you have a big yard, turn this tedious chore into a fun, social affair. Bring the whole family out and invite your neighbors and friends over to help. Now, it’s a party! Just be sure to promise them some warm apple cider after the job is done.

Explore new hiking trails

If you truly love the outdoors, fall is the ideal time to take advantage of the hiking trails in your neighborhood. If you’re lucky enough to live near a state or national park, then you will have access to an array of hiking options. However, before you start hiking, make sure you find a trail that matches your physical abilities.

If you experience common MS symptoms like fatigue, walking difficulties, or vertigo but you still want to try hiking, find an easy trail with low or moderate climbing. Most parks will post signs describing the upcoming path, so be sure to read them carefully before you start hiking.

Start out easy and give your body time to adapt to the weather and the exercise. Keep the trail casual and take your time. Enjoy the sights and sounds around you, especially in the fall as the leaves are changing and thinning out. This might give you the chance to spy deer and other forest creatures as you hike.

Do yoga outdoors

Even though yoga will not cure MS, it is certainly an excellent alternative remedy for those with MS to help you manage some MS symptoms. Because it’s a low-impact exercise, yoga can help you improve your balance and flexibility while also decreasing stress.

Find a yoga instructor that’s not only close to your home but also understands your specific health needs. If you’ve tried yoga before but have never committed to a class, you can try these MS-friendly yoga poses, which might help reduce some pain in your muscles and limbs. You can also take your yoga outside to enjoy the crisp autumn air. 

Don’t Forget to Stretch

As always, don’t forget to stretch. Regardless of the time of year, flexibility is something to maintain when you suffer from MS, and stretching before and after every workout will prevent your muscles from shrinking and reduce the spasticity of symptoms. As you take your walks or enjoy your hikes, don’t be afraid to stop at certain intervals to rest and stretch. This will help you maintain your strength and stamina, which are important if you want to prevent symptom flare-ups or injury.

Having MS doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy these fall activities. These activities are low-impact exercises that are sure to keep you healthy and active this season. 

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