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Old 12-20-2011, 08:29 PM   #1
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MS and Strength Training

Ever since I got diagnosed with MS I've had to scale back my daily workout. I've always been very keen on my exercise and have always tried to keep fit and healthy.

When I got diagnosed and there was that initial shock I immediately stopped doing any weight training or strength training due to all sorts of information that I had heard. I kept up my regular walking, cycling and light jogging though to keep in shape.

Unfortunately with the diagnosis, the initial dose of steroids and the 'taking it easy' I had gained a little bit of weight and just wasn't feeling myself. I could also feel myself losing strength and feeling weaker because I wasn't doing any weights anymore, something which I've always done for a long time.

After doing some research online I've come across lots of different articles. Some saying weight training isn't good for people with MS, other people saying that light to moderate weight training helps to build strength and improve general health and well being for MS patients.

After a little while, only recently have I started to lift some light to moderate weights and I must say I feel much better. I've started to become a little leaner and more toned again and my arms and legs are feeling much more stronger. I'm wary of over doing it so I'm keeping it very light to moderate.

What are some other people's opinions here? Is weight training or strength training (only in moderation of course) acceptable for people with MS?

 
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Old 12-20-2011, 08:45 PM   #2
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Re: MS and Strength Training

I enjoyed a period of time when I practiced power lifting. I finally gave it up in 2002 when my MS worsened. For me it became impossible to lift the weights I used to lift.

I also found that my recovery is difficult. I am using a passive exercycle now, but some days 30 minutes of use require 2-3 days to recover. You may find that your recovery periods may fluctuate. You may want to try a few schedules and keep your workouts in moderation with separate lower and upper body workouts. You can also work with several pyramid training sets to build strength. You should also increase protein and nutrition to keep your muscles in a good recovery position. Do not forget hydration.

You want to watch for signs of when to stop as well as avoiding any spa or hot shower. You might include the pool for cardio exercise.
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Old 12-21-2011, 07:36 AM   #3
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Re: MS and Strength Training

Hi. I think that strength training is VERY important because it can strengthen your core, which helps with many MS issues such as balance and gait (walking). I also think that you have to keep in mind that overexhertion and overheating can do the opposite- and make you feel terrible.

You have to find a balance between being a body builder and being comfortable with your physique.....there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with strength training if you are using it for the purpose of staying in shape, and toning up your body....but the opposite- competition type strength training is probably going to wear you out and do you in.

Lots of exercises dont require weights. Swimming is the #1 recommended exercise for MSers followd by Yoga, Tai Chi and other stretching type moves. However, Im still (after years of researching this) of the belief that you do as much as you can comfortably handle as often as you can until you start realizing that you cant recover from it. For instance, I still do P90X workouts. They incorporate yoga, cardio, strength, and high impact kick boxing. ITs a very long workout- about 90 minutes, and its supposed to be done 6 times a week. I manage to do 45 minutes of each one at least 4 times a week. In between, I use a stair climber or a treadmill and force myself to walk at least a mile EVERY MORNING. I also have been known to do some sit ups and pushups in front of my TV! My husband has walked in on me while studying and seen me curling dumbells at my desk. Light weight- 8 lbs- but it makes me feel good to see SOME definition in my body. Keeping in mind Im only 5'4 and only weigh 110 lbs! Im not looking for bulk- Im looking for tone. And, like you said, I feel awful when I put on a few pounds. With the holidays here, all I do is eat junk- and i justify it by doing 15 extra minutes of anything I can think of a couple times a day. I even do leg lifts on my couch and heel lifts while cooking dinner sometimes.....it adds up.

Now, the biggest thing I would remind you of is overheating. Dont let it happen because once your body really sweats, its very difficult to prevent symtoms from being excaberated. Use a fan- exercise in a cool place- wear few clothes and clothes that absorb perspiration. I love my underarmour workout gear...I also tend to workout in front of a fan. I take alot of breaks and drink alot of water.....this is all common sense. DO what you can do- but do it wisely.

There is no one who is going to tell you (medically speaking) NOT to exercise- but for MSers, the key is in moderation and with knowledge of what your body is telling you.

Hugs, and happy holidays.
Nikki
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:10 AM   #4
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Re: MS and Strength Training

That is exactly right.....just listen to your body and dont over-do it!

 
Old 01-10-2012, 02:16 PM   #5
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Re: MS and Strength Training

Do as much as you can as often as possible. Do not let the MS win. I have been fighting for 31 years and I was still able to get 2nd Dan Black belt in TaeKwonDo and 1 1st Dan belt in Kysushujitsu.

Over my progression, I started running--couldn't do that

Started on the elliptical and mountain biking

had problems on the mountain bike and went to the road bike.

All the while I tried to do as much strength training as I could tolerate. The moral of the story is you want to do as much as possible to preserve function. Things are catching up with me now, but I have had this since 1982.

All the best

tom

 
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