Participating in regular exercise improves cardiorespiratory and muscle function, decreases depression and fatigue, and creates a healthy and better quality of life for those with Multiple Sclerosis. By incorporating strength , flexibility, and cardio exercise it can positively impact disease progression and can help in your symptom management. However, heat sensitivity is an obstacle for many people with MS when it comes to exercise. An increase in body temperature can lead to the body feeling temporarily overheated and cause an increase in neurological symptoms that can bring unwanted symptoms like blurred vision, weakness, numbness, and increase in fatigue. Luckily, there are ways to dodge these negative effects and still enjoy the benefits of a great workout!
Aquatic exercises are great way to get the American College of Sport and Medicine 3-5 times a week for 20-60 minutes p
er day (dependent on your fatigue level) of cardiovascular exercise in for those with MS. Swimming and aquatic exercise classes, in water about 82 degrees, not only will help you manage your body temperature but it can also assist by keeping your body weight supported and assist and help improve balance and weakness issues . The variety of aquatic exercises, classes, and skill level available allows the incorporation of cardiovascular, strength training, balance, and coordination all in one. The specific benefits to the MS community are an improvement in range of motion, spasticity, flexibility, posture, and muscle tone all which will help in daily functioning activities.
Genzyme has partnered with MSAA for the Swim for MS initiative in order to raise awareness, promote availability, and provide an understanding to the MS community the benefits of aquatic based exercises by providing videos, print, and other web based materials. MSAA is continually developing a list of national pool facilities and existing community based aquatic exercise classes great for the MS community.