Multiple sclerosis is a neurological condition which affects the myelin surrounding nerves. The damage is progressive over time but exercise and physical activity can help individual’s living with the condition to manage their symptoms and it is suggested to help slow down the disease’s progression.
There are a huge number of benefits for regular exercise and activity with multiple sclerosis but in this short blog, we focus on 5 key benefits which are essential to promote to clients to engage, motivate and support them.
Exercise significantly boosts two proteins, brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF) both of which help repair neurons in MS. People with MS who exercise show increased levels of neurotrophic factors, which are molecules that enhance the growth and survival potential of neurons. Exercise helps prevent cognitive decline and those who exercise show the least amount of brain shrinkage.
Exercise will improve fitness and function in those with mild MS and will help to maintain function in moderate to severe cases. In people with significant disability, exercise will improve muscle power and mobility-related activities. The aim of exercise is to help people maintain their ability to perform activities of daily living and in turn, their independence.
It will be no surprise to referral instructors that studies show exercise improves mood and general wellbeing. Regular activity reduces depression, improves quality of life, confidence and sense of wellbeing. Mental wellbeing is hugely important with life impacting and progressive conditions so encouraging people to be regularly active with reduce the liklihood of co-morbidities and provide a sense of control around their conditio
Resistance training can also modify ongoing physical problems by increasing muscle strength for instance, to help protect from injury, and will have a positive effect on spasm as well as increasing tone. Core postural strength will help balance and stability problems.
There are also social benefits and opportunities for socialising and meeting new people. Group exercise can provide support from others, the feeling of belonging to a club and having shared experiences.
This just summarises the importance of exercise. If you would like to learn more about training clients living with Multiple Sclerosis and access supporting resources to use with this client group then we have a CPD training inside the hub for our members. Alternatively, you can access the training here.