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Exercise is needed to beat multiple sclerosis February 8, 2009

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Exercise - why you need it and what you need.
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Exercise makes you sizzle -- feel better, grow new brain cells and look drop dead cute!

Exercise makes you sizzle -- feel better, grow new brain cells and look drop dead cute!

It is counterintuitive but exercise is a necessity for those with multiple sclerosis (MS). It evokes what is called brain plasticity and neurological plasticity — this is the ability of the brain and neurological system to regrow and re-wire itself. Research shows that those with MS who exercise have fewer symptoms, are stronger, have less fatigue, sleep better and even do better on cognitive tests (thinking tests) than those who do not exercise.

If you are tired and fatigued but cannot sleep at night, you probably need more exercise. Likewise, if you look out of shape, exercise will make you look good and feel good. Talk to your doctor and even ask for a referral to a physical therapist if needed. Different types of exercises will help you recover any lost abilities.

Research shows aerobic exercise such as brisk walking or biking will increase your cardiovascular health and help MS. It will also help you sleep better at night, feel less fatigue and have more stamina. It will even help with leg spasticity. I walk more than one hour five days each week.

There are many strength building exercises and these will lift your mood and give you a great, attractive shape. A physical therapist can teach exercises tailored to your needs.  Or, you might want to consider lifting weights. I have a set of exercises I do three times a week. I do curls, overhead lifts, and bench presses, and other lifts. I also do some crunches, leg lifts and even some exercises that keep my derriere looking great. I have some special exercises I do that relieve the problems I have from arthritis in an ankle.

Balance exercises do help also. A physical therapist taught me a couple and I add these to my daily routine.

Finally, the niftiest exercises for those with MS are stretching exercises. If you have pain in your feet, legs or hips, a combination of stretching and strength building exercises may often resolve the pain — without any use of drugs!

Exercise is definitely one of the building blocks needed in an ultra healthy life style for MS. I love exercise because, even at 60, it makes me look great and feel sizzling. It can help you sizzle too and even grow new brain cells!

Please let me know if you find my blog helpful. Please add a comment. What did you like? What would you like added? Thanks! Together we can change the way the world views MS. Please also join the Intelligent Guide to MS page on Facebook. I will use that page to make timely posts on new research and other issues likely to be of interest to others.

Please remember to consult with your doctors about how to stay as healthy as possible. Nothing here should be interpreted as medical advice. Instead, please use the information you find here in your discussions with your doctor.

Copyright 2008 Rebecca Hoover

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Tags: Exercise, Fatigue, MS, Multiple Sclerosis, Sizzle, Sleep

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Obesity and multiple sclerosis — what’s the relationship? January 5, 2009

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Diet - the right diet for MS, what you need to eat, Exercise - why you need it and what you need.
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Studies show that obesity at age 18 greatly increases the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) and obesity is what doctors call a comorbidity, a health problem that coexists with another condition. Obesity not only may help cause MS, it also complicates MS. The MS problems presented by obesity are another reason to start and put the whole family on the type of ultra healthy diet needed by those with MS. I recommend following the Swank MS Diet discussed elsewhere with the updates recommended by Dr. George Jelinek, a medical professor.

In November 2009, Neurology, the leading journal for neurologists in the United States, published the results of a study that reviewed the presence or absence of MS in more than 200,000 women. The study found that women who were obese at age 18 were 2.25 times more likely to develop MS than women who were not obese. Women who were obese at age 20 were almost two times more likely to later develop MS.  Interestingly, however, obesity and ages 5, 10 and during later adulthood was not correlated with increased risk of MS onset. This does not mean, however, that those with MS can ignore the weight issue. Unfortunately, studies show that obesity, when combined with MS, makes MS a difficult disease.

First, research shows that obesity makes diagnosis of MS more difficult and delays diagnosis of MS. Because obesity can be frequently accompanied by numbness, for example, doctors may guess that a patient’s numbness is the result of obesity rather than MS. The delay in diagnosis of MS is problematic, however, because the delay means a delay in treatment of MS.

Second, obesity makes coping with MS more difficult. While obese MS patients need exercise and a healthy diet more than most to prevent heart disease, this exercise requires extra effort. If MS patients are obese, they need extra encouragement to reduce weight and get needed aerobic exercise. Addressing obesity is important because research shows that obese MS patients are more likely to experience moderate rather than mild disability early after diagnosis.

It is especially important to note that the same diet that can lead to obesity, also probably makes MS worse.  Studies show that eating diets high in saturated fats is likely to make MS worse while eating healthy fats and a healthy diet seems to improve outcomes. Eating right is important for everyone — it is doubly important for those with MS.  Please see my post about eating right for more information. This is so important that more than one professor of medicine has taken the time to write a book largely devoted to describing just what a healthy diet for MS patients means. I follow this advice that is based on scientific research and I recommend you do the same.

If you have MS or think you might have MS and are overweight, the sooner you address physical fitness the healthier you will be. Please read the post on eating healthy and check out the Swank MS Diet. The next thing, you know you will be feeling better than you have felt in years. And you will be looking gorgeous too — healthy eating and living do that for you.

Please let me know if you find my blog helpful. Please add a comment. What did you like? What would you like added? Thanks! Together we can change the way the world views MS. Please also join the Intelligent Guide to MS page on Facebook. I will use that page to make timely posts on new research and other issues likely to be of interest to others.

Please remember to consult with your doctors about how to stay as healthy as possible. Nothing here should be interpreted as medical advice. Instead, please use the information you find here in your discussions with your doctor.

Copyright 2008 Rebecca Hoover

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Tags:  Multiple Sclerosis, MS, Obesity, Diet, Exercise