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.