Facts are facts. We all know there are things we should and shouldn’t be doing if we have multiple sclerosis (MS).
We know from research that smoking is quite bad for MS as well as for our general health. The National MS Society reminds us that a good diet is important to maintaining a healthy immune system. And, like it or not, there is evidence that keeping our weight down is important to our MS prognosis. And then there’s exercise …
MS Is a Real Barrier to Regular Exercise
I’m just now trying to get back into my former exercise routines after rehabilitating a series of falls over the winter.
We all know how difficult it can be to start (or in this case, restart) any sort of workout routine for just about anyone. Layer onto that our shared disease, and it can be a workout just to get to our workout.
It’s not easy, but after reading a new study, I’m even more committed to getting in my 180 minutes of exercise per week.
New Research Suggests Why to Make the Effort
In a review published March 2 in the Journal of Neurology, researchers reported that for people with MS, there’s evidence that exercising least three times per week — up to 60 minutes per session, totaling 180 minutes or more per week — improved cognitive function significantly.
Further, the researchers found that the worse the MS baseline disability status and the older the age, the greater the effect on cognitive function.
They also found, through systematic review and meta-analysis, that “multicomponent training” was best. That means more than one type of exercise.
Many of us have a hard time finding just one type of exercise that we can do, do well, or at least do comfortably. Now, it appears, I’m going to have to find another component or two to add to my activities.
But it must be said that MS may be forcing that hand anyway.
Coming Back From an Injury Takes Time
Today’s walk with our wheaten terrier, Maggie, was my first back on what had been our daily hourlong routine. It took a full one-third longer than that today.
Lingering pain and weakness and a slower pace due to the two-and-a-half-month gap since I’ve been able to get out showed me that this will be an even longer road to recovery than I’d expected. Perhaps that difficulty underscores the importance of finding something else to augment my walking.
While I’m continuing my rehab exercises in a local pool, I might consider adding to those exercises to make that time more beneficial. I also cycle in and out of town when I can. A bit more time on the bike could replace some of the walking as well.
I suppose it’s important that I admit (to both our readers and to myself) that I’m not in training for a triathlon here. My hour (now 90-minute) walking route is only about 3 kilometers. My pool time is an hour of stretches using the water for a combination of buoyancy, balance, and resistance. The bike … well, it’s a fat-tired boardwalk cruiser built for comfort, not for speed. I’ll not be setting land speed records there.
Good Food and the Desire for Good Health Motivate Me
I exercise to keep my weight in check. As a foodie friend of mine, Brian Kelly, says, “I work out so I can eat!”
I also exercise because we all know that we should. Now, after reading the recent report analyzing several studies, I also exercise because it might keep my cognitive decline at a minimum. If making sure that I not only get a workout but employ the multicomponent training recommended makes that more of a reality, then I guess I’m going to have to expand my repertoire.
I know I’m fortunate to have a choice of what I can do (even if I don’t do it well). But I’m finding those options dwindling.
Wishing you and your family the best of health.