5) Exercise and Yoga

5) Exercise and Yoga

Overcoming MS - Exercise

At Beyond MS we have found that regular daily exercise is very helpful in managing MS symptoms, as well as for general good health and well-being, and many studies support this finding. A good exercise program can help with optimum muscle development, bone strength and respiration.

Aerobic exercise programs are particularly beneficial and help improve cardiovascular fitness and overall strength. Other benefits include better bladder and bowel function, less fatigue and depression, a more positive attitude and increased social interaction

Ensure your exercise program is aligned with your abilities and limitations. Be aware that changes in your MS symptoms may make it necessary to adjust your exercise routine accordingly

A physical therapist experienced with the unique and varied symptoms of MS can be helpful in designing, supervising and revising a well-balanced exercise program

Carefully time your exercise program to avoid the hotter periods of the day and pace yourself to prevent excessive fatigue

For safety’s sake, talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine

People with MS who are inactive are prone to many risk factors associated with coronary heart disease, muscle weakness, decreased bone density with increased risk of fracture, and shallow breathing

Exercise and Yoga
Exercise is vital to good health! The ideal exercise would balance the whole human system, mind and body. It is also vital that exercise gives more energy than it takes, which is a concept foreign to most exercise programs. The gentle stretching of Yoga keeps anyone flexible and will help spasticity, flexibility, and pain. Start a comfortable aerobic exercise program of walking, cycling, wheeling, or swimming. Activity is essential to help the body stay functional! This aerobic activity is a wonderful complement to yoga. It is critically important to stay as active as you can within your own potential – but don’t overdo it! + Read • + Watch

The Benefits of Yoga for People with MS

yoga benefits ms

The ancient practice of yoga has long been touted as a wellness modality.

Yoga loosely translates to “union,” or the yoke connecting one to God, and can be traced back 5,000 years to the Indus-Sarasvati region in Northern India.

For centuries yoga was practiced as medicine and as a spiritual path.  

Modern medicine is catching up.

On more than one occasion yoga has been clinically proven to provide healthy results. An increasing amount of clinical studies focus on yoga as it specifically benefits those with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Read more: Get the facts on multiple sclerosis »

Different benefits for different conditions

With a snowflake disease such as MS, where no two patients’ symptoms are the same, yoga and its varying disciplines may provide relief to a large number of people.

Fatigue, weakness, balance, falling, pain, and mood swings can all be symptoms of MS, and have all been recently put to the test with yoga.   

Yoga works by combining movement, rest, and stress reduction while cultivating “prana,” or life force energy, and activating the parasympathetic nervous system.

yoga for ms

In traditional practice there are postures, Pranayamas (yoga breathing), and meditations, each one with a specific purpose.

One exercise to help combat fatigue, called Dirga Pranayama, focuses on providing nourishing, calming, and relaxing benefits using breathing exercises. The result is a recharged battery for the practitioner. 

In conventional medicine, a yoga program was designed specifically for MS patients to test the benefits on fatigue, walking, and quality of life. The positive results persuaded supporters to proclaim yoga to be a safe and feasible form of therapeutic exercise.