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MS and exercise
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MS and exercise

I am naturally inclined to be a lazy bum :) and haven't really tried to exercise seriously for some time. I walk to work (about a half mile each way), but that's about it. So I thought I'd try to walk more. I went for a walk on Saturday (a little over a mile--not that much and at my pace probably not aerobic at all). By the end, my legs were all wobbly and didn't feel like a part of me anymore. I was sort of weaving and hoping that my legs would just hold out until I got home. My feet also get this really raw feeling if I walk for a while.

Apparently, I bit off a bit more than I should have. I felt worse the next few days--especially in the legs--but woke up feeling better today so I worry that it's the walking. On the other hand, for a couple mornings starting on Sunday I also got this band of pressure around my upper arms (which I can't imagine was due to the walking) and I was really tired Friday night (fell asleep watching a movie, which I don't usually do) so maybe feeling worse was totally independent of my exertion.

The last time I tried to take up walking (several years ago), I felt better for a couple weeks and then started to get really tired and totally crashed. I stopped walking, but felt worse for quite some time after that. I am (rationally or not) scared that something like that will happen again.

From what I've read, reasonable exercise is supposed to be a good thing for MS (and my neuro seems to think so, too), but for those of you who exercise, how do you find that balance between babying yourself and overdoing it? I guess exercise is not supposed to be dangerous, but I worry.

sho

PS When I went to pick up my free pedometer the other day (courtesy of the governor of Indiana, who is apparently on a "quest to help Indiana become the healthiest state in the nation"), I got a brochure with a link to a cool website, which uses GoogleMaps to help you figure out how far you've walked: gmap-pedometer *******.
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11 Comments Post a Comment
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400099_tn?1282958464
my kids want me to walk...of course, none of them live nearby, so they don't see my day to day struggles with MS, or how just walking around the store doing shopping completely wipes me out. I have been looking into something called "yogability", yoga geared to MS patients who have trouble with their legs. For me, taking on walking as a form of exercise is not a possibility. And there's the key, I think. Finding an exercise that works for you.
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333672_tn?1273796389
Yeah, I probably do just need to experiment some more.

And isn't it frustrating how people can't see from the outside how difficult things can be sometimes. My husband can see that if I do too much, I got wobbly-legged and trying harder doesn't improve things, but he still can't quite grok how that is.

sho

PS The website above was supposed to end in dotcom
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Avatar_f_tn
I don't have MS as a dx (I don't have any dx, lol)...

But I always thought that walking was free, my girls could handle it (they're 19 and autistic, inclined to staying indoors), and I'd see God's Creation as the seasons unfolded. I try to be observant of the world around me and share that with my kids (I also have a son).

Today I tried to walk, and it reminded me of the past years when I'd go out. I just can't do it. I am only 46 but feel like I'm not in shape. And I'm not. But I can't handle a "simple" walk? Granted, it was my first official effort tis year and I live in a hilly area. I was out for 15 minutes, maybe tomorrow pull back to 10 and just pace myself. However right now I feel absolutely drained. And I had a nap earlier!

I don't know that I've helped you; just wanted to share that I too feel overwhelmed after any effort.

Suzanne
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228463_tn?1216765121
Hi therre!

You know I was thinking about this today.  I am naturally a hyperactive person so when my sx started last May and I stopped doing 50% of what I used to do I gained 30 lbs.  My friends keep insinuating that I need to excercise because "the more you sit around, the more you want to sit around".  

My problem is that when I start to try to walk I get the same response from my legs that you do.  I have noticed that I can no longer build on what strength I gained yestreday . . . . build a tolerance and be able to excercise longer.  Now, the opposite is true for me.  The more I do today, the less I will be capable of tomorrow.

I am a Limbo Rock girl so have no real answers yet either but just wanted to let you know my legs and your legs must be cousins! LOL!

Take care!
Kristin  
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400099_tn?1282958464
My doctor suggests getting into warm - not hot - water, pool and just moving around in the water for 10 minutes will tone the muscles. As soon as I can afford it, I'm going to do it. My physical therapist told me yoga is one of the best possible exercises for MS. My husband, too, doesn't get it. He keeps wanting me to bake him cookies. A simple thing, right? But by the time I make his dinner and clean up, I'm too tired to do anything. He along with others also tell me all I need to do is exercise. My therapist explained to him about MS, but he still doesn't get it. Therapist said, "exercise is good, but it won' fix MS. MS is a brain problem". My husband still doesn't get it. Thick headed Irishman. But, I'll keep him around anyway.
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382218_tn?1341185087
I too have gained weight, 20 lbs or so, since being dx'ed.  I am generally pretty sedentary, but much more so since getting sick.  I do have a treadmill, and try to use it a few times a week when I'm not having a relapse.  Pre-dx, I could do about 8kms in an hour; now I can only go for 30 mins or so at a much slower pace.  I often feel worse immediately after exercising, almost flu-like; whereas it used to feel so good.  So far I have not found it makes me any worse the following day.

What is working for me lately are some stretching, strength and balance exercises out of a book by Brad Hamler.  It's called "Exercises for Multiple Sclerosis: A Safe and Effective Program to Fight Fatigue, Build Strength, and Improve Balance."  The author is a fitness professional who has worked for many years with clients with MS.  It is well written, there is some variety in the exercises, and there are photos of all the moves.  He has a lot of info in it about MS as well as fitness.  For the exercises, you need minimal equipment and none at all in many cases.  I got this book on Amazon, it's under $20.

I have found that following a few days of concerted effort with these exercises, my cardio (walking) is less of an effort and I don't feel as lousy afterwards.  

I have never done yoga but have recorded several episodes of "Namaste" and plan to start once this relapse is a little further behind me.

db1
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Avatar_f_tn
I, too, am a limbolander.I did physical therapy for 3 months. Not only was it very expensive, but it didn't help much. My rheumi agreed with my idea to drop the physical therapy and the pain doctor and join the YMCA. It only cost $70 to join and $40 a month. Many classes are free to members. I was paying $40 a week for physical therapy and $35 a month for the pain doctor (who I must add had me wait over 2 hours at an appt). I am taking a water class for people with arthritis, fibro, etc. The class is 3x a week. I have to push myself to go, but once I am in the pool and moving I feel so good! When I get out, I do feel like gravity has control of my legs and I can barely walk for about 10 minutes, but I do think it is overall a benefit. Thank you for the "yogability" suggestion. I am going to check that out!!! I hope you all have a "pain little" day (I won't say painless since many of us are always in some level of pain).
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427279_tn?1210923421
yes i know what you mean on the cookies and also his(my bh)spice cake wth home made frosting that you have to whip,and whip and whip till it gets formed enough...my bh just doesnt get it...he comments all the time i look like i had a few drinks...than yesterday he like was rubbing my belly and i allmost fell over ,he said dang all i did is touch you...i said yeah i told you balance is not good...so maybe i got it across to him ..lol who knows ...thanks for listening ...oh and im not dx'd either but when i just go to the store im done in for the next day or so...take care all....deb
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Avatar_f_tn
A few months ago, I decided that maybe my legs are feeling like this because I'm not "doing enough".....
I have a treadmill at home that I used to be on several times a week, but that has stopped for quite a while....
I overdid the treadmill and paid for it for days!  That's one of the most frustrating things, in my opinion---is to go from being extremely active (in life and work), to not being able to anything CLOSE to what I used to do....
Kristin, you had a great point--"The more I do today, the less I will be capable of doing tomorrow"....So very true!
Tammy
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Avatar_f_tn
I have no official diagnosis, and am not sure what is wrong with me at all.  I'm frustrated with the exercise thing, too.  I used to do alot of walking, I actually lost 25 lbs.  That was over 2 years ago.  Since all my symptoms started, I have tried to walk, and some days I do pretty well.  But other days I can't walk for more than a few minutes without my foot and leg going numb or getting tingly or feeling incredibly heavy.  I try to do what I can when I can!!

Take care!
Heidi
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333672_tn?1273796389
Thanks for all the comments. It's good to know I'm not alone.

Kristin, I really resonate with your comment about not seeming to be able to build up strength. That's how it's been for me for some time--at first I would do okay and then I start slipping backwards.

Today, I read that in the past "it was felt that as many people with MS experienced fatigue and found their symptoms worsened when hot, it was best to avoid activities that could be seen as tiring. However, research has demonstrated that the reverse is true and that regular exercise has been shown to improve the condition and mood of people with MS at all levels of ability." (http://www.medicalnewstodayDOTcom/articles/104359.php)

I'm not sure how to reconcile that with how I feel after exercising.

I guess I will try experimenting with shorter walks as I would like to walk. And my legs feel worse again today for no particular reason that I can discern so maybe I should stop trying to explain everything.

Does anyone know if there has been any research specifically on whether overdoing exercise can cause relapses or worsening of MS?

sho
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