I've started exercising about a month ago and have been gradually increasing the amount that I'm on the treadmill. I'm a little bit worried that if I overdo it, I'll bring on a relapse. Is this possible?
Can a person with MS ever exercise and bring on a sweat? I worry that when I'm sweating I'm going to get overheated and something will give out or I will have a relapse. There have been many nights, when I think I've over-done it, where the pain in my legs keeps me up at night. However, I wonder if this is spasticity or just because I haven't used the muscles much in the past years.
I've been wondering that too. I recently stopped running (out of fear) after a short episode of spontaneous paralysis, but I still do HIIT on my spinning bike and use hand weights. I feel so much better after working up a good sweat (which HIIT does)
I had such a reaction when trying to loose weight for my wedding 10 years ago I was asking the same questions. The dr that I had at the time told me that aqua-exercise was my best option. You have to be careful especially this time of year that the pool or the facility is not over heated but there is a class where I live that is for people with MS and they take that into consideration when we are scheduled. Swimming has by far been the best resolution to this problem for me. I have none of the reactions that I had before, like temporary blindness.
There are some people that run marathons that have MS, so exercise is not discouraged just becaues of MS. You have to listen to your body. You also have to increase your exercise slowly. (just as you have been doing)
If you find that exercising is causing symptoms, you will probably find that these symptoms are quiet again, once you rest and relax some. If you are exercising parts of your body that aren't used to the exercise, you are bound to feel "pooped out," and sore.
Again listen to your body. And do not exercise in extreme heat. That isn't good for anybody, but most especially someone with MS. As far as I know, exercising will NOT bring on a relapse. I've been diagnosed for 12+ years now and while exercising with great effort makes me tired and sometimes overheated, I find that my body returns to "normal" if I take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.
I wouldn't recomment however, exercising full steam WHILE you are in relapse.
Hope this answers your question. Remember this is only MY personal experience with MS and exercise.
Not all people with MS are particularly heat-intolerant. The recommendations that I have seen all include pre-cooling, such as with a shower and wearing cooling garments, and drinking cool liquids while exercising vigorously enough to raise your body temp.
Exercising "per se" should not bring on a relapse, but frequently brings on a false relapse or pseudo-exacerbation. This is a return of symptoms while overheated. The symptoms should subside when the body's temp falls back.
However, as Julie (Sarahsmom) can tell you. An indiscretion with the heat "can" occasionally bring on a full relapse. Julie isn't diagnosed yet, but she had a classic relapse after a hot tub incident. She would tell you to err on the conservative side and be careful if you are known to be heat senstive.
This has been a very helpful and good discussion, thanks! In the summer I'll have to find something else, unless I have a mega fan in my bedroom and take a cool shower before treadmilling to keep me cool. I don't do well in the heat at all. I'll probably join TWU's health club so I can use the pool.
I try to exercise three times a week, moderately. I usually burn about 350 calories at a time. I do break a sweat, and I don't do well in the heat, so right after exercise I tend to be very wobbly. It's usually about an hour, maybe two, after working out before I'm back to normal. (At least *my* normal!) As far as I can tell, moderate exercise hasn't brought on a relapse.
I was diagnosed with MS this past January (2010) and am still recovering from a major episode of numbness of my entire body (below breasts downward). I'm still partilly numb--my hands in particular, and have tightening in my left leg, numb patches in the bottoms of my feet, weak lower legs.
This week I decided to join a gym and got an exercise plan from a trainer who knows MS issues and took into consideration my limitations. He gave me a very light program to follow to start with, and even that made me dizzy and light-headed after a while, but I think it will be OK if I take some breaks and drink cold water. He also recommended the water class. I have issues with both heat and cold, and the last time I tried pool exercises, even with the heated pool, I got chills which caused a lot of cramping in my body. I'm leery about trying the water class, but might give it a try & see what happens.
I haven't been to a gym in at least two years, nor had much exercise to speak of in that time, so I was sad (but not surprised) to see how much tone and strength I've lost. This time around my gym experience will be a little different, I think!
I don't do well in the cold, either. I guess you can say that I'm just like Goldilocks. I have to have the perfect temperature, or I'm miserable.
Right now, I'm walking on my treadmill for exercise on a moderate to low speed. I can't do any kind of elevation because I will stumble, but I do get some exercise out of this. I turn on my ceiling fan and lay underneath it when I finish.
I can relate to not exercising for years before diagnosis. I wonder if getting a personal trainer would help you. Maybe if you ask around at your gym to find someone that is familiar with MS, you can find someone to help you build your strength on a very gradual plan. Whatever you do, don't push yourself. Stop, like you're doing, if you get light headed or dizzy.
When I feel an internal tremor coming on, it's too late--I've overdone it. Then, I'm crashed out for the day and if it's severe enough, the next day. For some reason, I never know how much is too much. I suspect that it is that way with lots of people with MS. So making a mental note of how much I tolerated the time before is a must for me. It's that way with any activity including housekeeping. Today, I've overdone it, so I will spend the rest of my day at the computer or laying on the couch. Bummer.
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