Stay active

Regular exercise is safe and can help you manage some of the symptoms of MS, boost your energy levels and provides other benefits.

Exercise and MS

Physical activity can help:

  • Improve stamina, fitness and joint flexibility
  • Improve coordination, balance and posture
  • Improve and maintain muscle strength
  • Reduce fatigue and stress
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis and depression
  • Increase concentration, confidence and mood

Getting started

MS affects everyone differently, so talk to your neurologist or a physiotherapist who specialises in MS to help you develop an exercise plan that’s best for you and make sure you exercise safely.

If you’re feeling unwell or have a relapse, you may need to reduce or stop exercising for a while. Don’t be discouraged – the key is to get back into it as soon as you can and work your fitness back up gradually.

Women with mild to moderate MS should aim for:

30 mins

2x a week

moderate intensity
aerobic activity

30 mins

2x a week

strength training
for major muscle groups

Tips to help you start and stay active:

  • Choose a variety of exercises you enjoy
  • Perform exercise regularly and at a reasonable intensity
  • Set small goals and work up slowly as your fitness and strength improve
  • Find a training buddy to provide encouragement
  • Keep cool and drink plenty of water
  • Take it easy and stop and rest if you feel fatigued

Types of exercises

Flexibility training

Simple stretching exercises, including activities like yoga and Pilates, can improve your flexibility.

  • Improves comfort and movement
  • Reduces muscle stiffness
  • Set small goals and work up slowly as your fitness and strength improve

Strength and muscle endurance training

Most strength training involves ‘resistance’ exercises either using your own body weight, free weights or weight machines. Endurance training involves slow, easy movements that are done to the point of fatigue. In general, any low-resistance repetitive exercise can build endurance, and includes swimming and aqua aerobics, gardening and walking.

  • Strengthens and tones muscles
  • Reduces muscle stiffness
  • Many strength exercises require coordination and stability
  • Make sure you don’t push yourself past the point of fatigue, as this can increase your recovery time

Aerobic fitness training

Different types of fitness training include walking, running, cycling, swimming, dancing and team sports. You can also use a number of different machines at the gym, such as the treadmill, step-up machine, cross-trainer and exercise bike.

  • Improves general health, wellbeing and energy levels
  • Good for heart, lung and brain health as well as weight management
  • The frequency, duration and intensity of your activity will depend on your individual ability, so don’t push yourself too hard

The guidance offered here is meant to help you get started, but should not replace the advice of a healthcare professional.

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