The Benefits of Weight Training Among Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Multiple sclerosis – simply known as MS – is an inflammatory disease that disrupts nerve cell function in the brain and spinal cord. Over time, the disease leads to muscle weakness, coordination problems, numbness and visual impairment. MS has no known cause and cure. However, most health experts agree, weight training can reduce MS symptoms. In today’s post, we are listing down the benefits of working out among people living with MS:

Tones and Improves Muscle Strength

Research shows that weight training may help boost muscle strength. Its long-term effect among those living with MS is improving the quality of life! In a study published in the “Multiple Sclerosis” journal, researchers observed eight patients afflicted with MS. After weight training for eight weeks, the patients felt a remarkable improvement in muscle strength. They also felt less fatigued. Fatigue is one of the most debilitating of all MS symptoms.

If you suffer from MS, we recommend pushups, pull-ups, and abdominal crunches. You can also use weight machines or free weights such as dumbbells and barbells to tone and improve muscle strength.

NOTE: The right workout will depend on the progression of the disease. Some routines can be modified according to the symptoms.

Minimizes MS Symptoms

It’s scientifically proven that weight training slow down the progression of the disease itself. It can literally delay the degenerative effects of MS, particularly on the muscles and nerves. That’s because exercise of any kind stimulates muscles and nerves.

A study published in the “International Journal of Sports Medicine” found that moderate resistance training minimizes MS symptoms. The study involved the participation of 13 MS patients. They worked out for eight weeks. After the experiment, they reportedly felt stronger. Their joints are also less prone to injuries. Studies show that weight training prevents balance and coordination problems, two of the hallmarks of MS.

Relieves Stress, Prevents Depression

It’s hard to maintain a positive outlook in life when you’re afflicted with a degenerative disorder. Weight training helps stabilize mood and alleviate stress. When you work out, the brain releases dopamine and endorphins. These brain chemicals boost the mood and minimize stress.

In addition, working out prolongs the periods of remission among MS patients. According to the Multiple Sclerosis International Foundation, weight training helps maintain optimum physical condition, balance, and coordination.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Preliminary tests show that weight training has an anti-inflammatory effect. Because MS is an inflammatory disease, working out could counteract its many debilitating symptoms. In the 70s, people with MS were discouraged from exercising. They were warned that vigorous exercise could aggravate the disease’s symptoms. But there is a growing number of studies that refute this long-held belief.

With moderate exercise, the muscles become stronger. The nerves become tolerant to inflammation while improving mobility. And you don’t have to work out intensely to reap the benefits of exercising. Walking just 30 minutes per day is enough to trigger the anti-inflammatory benefits of exercising!

If you suffer from MS, we recommend aerobic exercise and resistance training. You can also turn to yoga and meditation to alleviate stress as well as improve health and well-being.

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