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General Questions and Answers For learning, sharing your experience, and exchanging information about Multiple Sclerosis. Please discuss medications in the Medications forum, and natural supplements in Tara's forum.

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  #1  
Old 03-17-2013, 11:23 AM
LindaT5761 LindaT5761 is offline
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can we strengthen our muscles with exercise?

I know many people here excercise, & I've been searching the forums on keyword "muscles" but I'm still wondering

My leg muscles always feel like i've been excercising, which i think means weakness. there are 3 flights of stairs between me and the street (no elevator). I don't go out more than 1-3 times a week.i do walk 1/2 to 4 blocks & bacl once or twice a week. I am able to walk 6 blocks, but I better be able to sit & rest for awhile before it's time to go back.

My question is can or should I try to increase strength through exercise? Or are my muscles working hard enough as it is?

Stretching my legs, arms, & shoulders every day seems necessary to be able to do anything, so I do, usually soon after getting out of bed.

I want to do a regular routine with Wii Fit, probably yoga, balance, & that step aerobics thing they have, after we get another tv for my daughter's room so there will be room to do wii. (lack of space/NYC apt issue.)

Thanks,
Linda
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  #2  
Old 03-17-2013, 12:02 PM
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Debby Debby is offline
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Everyone is different, and you REALLY have to listen to your own body. Sometimes you have to push a little to get results, and sometimes pushing makes things worse.

Exercise has helped me so.....much. I'm addicted! Without it I feel so much weaker. It has REALLY strengthened my body. It also helps me feel better emotionally (all those endorphins!). But I do always pay attention and listen to what my body is telling me - slow down, modify an exercise, not exercise for a day and rest, etc.

I would caution you with the step! I love step aerobics, and used to do it all the time, but now my balance is shaky and if I do use the step, I have to be super careful, and very deliberate in my movement. If you have any balance issues, be careful. Of course, strengthening your core can help with that, UNLESS your balance problems are related to weakness in your legs.

My favorite exercise is kickboxing - I do Turbo Jam & Turbo Fire DVD's. They are fun, the music rocks, and you can't believe how fast the time goes because you're having so much fun! I also lost a LOT of weight through incorporating exercise into my life! In the summer I enjoy doing water aerobics too - great because there's no pressure on your joints, and it also strengthens your core, legs, arms, etc.

Good luck!
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  #3  
Old 03-17-2013, 12:06 PM
Bob698 Bob698 is offline
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One of the things about MS is that we only get so much in the tank. Once the tank goes empty, it takes a while to refill.

I guess I'm saying to look for more movement VS strength training or building muscle. If you can hike 6 blocks, do what you have to so you stay at 6 blocks.

Stretching/Yoga seems to give us a lot more benefit than strength training. If you notice that you can do more, go easy while you try to build up to it. It seems the worst thing we can do is to force it. That just doesn't work for many of us.
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  #4  
Old 03-17-2013, 12:49 PM
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tortis tortis is online now
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Hi LindaT5761,
I was Losing my leg muscles very fast because I have no balance so i was only walking with my cane so I was not getting enough leg exercise so my muscles were atrophying (weakness). Now I use a treadmill that has handles to hold on to for balance. So now I am up to 2 miles in the morning and 3.5 miles a day and I have lost 45 lbs but it has really helped my endurance and even my balance a little but it does increase my dizziness a little at first so be carefull and start slow if you do this. Good luck.
PEACE
Tortis
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  #5  
Old 03-17-2013, 01:06 PM
my5cats62 my5cats62 is offline
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Wii Fit

I was just coming on to see if anyone else used Wii Fit! I spoke to my neuro about it at length. It helped me along with a change in diet to lose 110 lbs and gain so much energy and most of all balance. We can overdo it with anything so you nee to listen to your body, but it is wonderful!
Be sure to always stay very hydrated as well as exercising. My energy goes very quickly when I have not had enough water to drink.
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  #6  
Old 03-17-2013, 01:16 PM
MSer102 MSer102 is offline
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I think strengthening from exercise is one of the [U]purposes[/U] of exercise. Its one of the purposes of physical therapy. Strength training IS exercise. Use it or lose it.
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  #7  
Old 03-17-2013, 02:01 PM
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SNOOPY SNOOPY is online now
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Yes, You can strengthen your muscles with exercise.

Unfortunately, this disease can cause enough damage to the Central Nervous Sytem (CNS) that even with exercise it won't help build muscle for everyone.

I believe strongly in exercising. Exercise can be different for everyone and will depend on a persons current abilities.

When I was diagnosed my neuro told me the best thing I could do is walk. I have always exercised.

I currently own a 4 station weight machine (total body workout) and use it no less than 4 days a week. I am currently leg pressing 220 pounds. I also own and use an Elliptical.

I have found working with a weight machine has increased my strength and endurance moreso than any other form of exercise I have done.

I have been diagnosed with this disease for 28 years with symptoms that can be traced back to childhood.
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  #8  
Old 03-17-2013, 02:45 PM
ru4cats ru4cats is offline
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Talking A topic where I've evolved.....

After 2 1/2 years of dealing with the topic of this thread, I've come to the conclusion that "how" MS is affecting your body will help determine the effectiveness of improvement in muscle through exercise. Since it is the nerves that create "muscle memory", nerve damage will retard the ability for the muscle to improve with time.

For me, with spinal lesions that have affected the nerves that feed my core and right leg, improvement via exercise is really not an option. However, with exercise, I have found I progress more slowly. I recently decided not to "obsess" over exercise, and now I go day-to-day. Depending on the day, I vary between walking my dogs, using a recumbent bike, doing a routine for the Pilates reformer that focuses on my legs, and I continue to use the exercise routine my PT taught me for use in a pool. I continue to progress, slowly, but my life goes on..... Good ideas are presented throughout this thread.

** Moderator's note - Post broken into paragraphs for easier reading. Many people with MS have visual difficulties that prevent them from reading large blocks of print. **
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  #9  
Old 03-17-2013, 03:34 PM
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SNOOPY SNOOPY is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ru4cats View Post
For me, with spinal lesions that have affected the nerves that feed my core and right leg, improvement via exercise is really not an option.
Hi ru4cats,

Even with spinal cord lesions it is possible to improve mobility and strength, I am living proof of that

This disease has affected my spinal cord from the begining. Even after all these years I can still improve my strength and mobility with exercise.

For those with spinal cord lesions it is important not to assume improvement can't happen. It is possible. It can take time and patience to see any benefit.
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  #10  
Old 03-17-2013, 05:03 PM
MSer102 MSer102 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SNOOPY View Post
For those with spinal cord lesions it is important not to assume improvement can't happen. It is possible. It can take time and patience to see any benefit.
I think that's so true! That's the reason for those passive exercise machines that move arms and legs that people can't move themselves. If that didn't help to keep the muscles from atrophying then there wouldn't be any point to it. The [U]right[/U] kind of exercise makes muscles stronger - that seems to be how muscles work. At the very least for people with MS it keeps our muscles from getting weaker from not being used.

I think I can say this this week: Can we strengthen our muscles with exercise? Is the Pope Catholic?
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  #11  
Old 03-17-2013, 09:10 PM
Tawanda Tawanda is online now
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I think we owe it to ourselves to try to keep ourselves as strong as possible, mentally or physically. I dread the day when my body throws in the towel despite my best efforts. There are rehab people and machines that can move our bodies for us, but I am guessing that when you get to that point with M.S., it's like spitting in the Ocean

For now, I am still in the yoga/walking camp. However, I need to remind myself to make hay the sun shines and add some weight training and cardio while I know I still can.

I honestly couldn't tell you if M.S. makes me push myself harder or baby myself when it comes to physical activity.
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  #12  
Old 03-18-2013, 08:57 AM
Jules A Jules A is online now
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For people who were athletic before MS I think they should have a good perspective regarding what they are able to do and what is helpful or harmful.

I guess it is most difficult for people who haven't been active in their lives pre-MS because they aren't in shape and don't recognize the expected fatigue, pain, sacrifices etc. that come from starting a new work out. Even if you don't have MS when you first start a challenging physical regimen you will surely feel like you have it, lol.

Its often written here not to push yourself and to stop before you feel pain which I agree is great advice in general but in my experience as a person before and after MS without feeling some pain/fatigue I'm not getting a decent work out, especially if I'm starting a new regimen.
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  #13  
Old 03-18-2013, 09:15 AM
CARAMEL CARAMEL is offline
 

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Smile Workouts and MS

Thank you for this encouragement.
This last week introduced me to my biggest MS 'spell' which even now has left my legs very weak so being now somewhat fearful of becoming worse, I will now faithfully!!! follow my physiotherapist's exercise regime.
Bad stress works to weakening me as well.
CARAMEL
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  #14  
Old 03-18-2013, 09:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules A View Post
I guess it is most difficult for people who haven't been active in their lives pre-MS because they aren't in shape and don't recognize the expected fatigue, pain, sacrifices etc. that come from starting a new work out.
When I was diagnosed (age 24) I was not athletic and did not do any planned exercise. I was active but not in a exercise type of way. I was only 24, I had things to do, places to go and people to see But really, I had never been athletic

Once I recieved a diagnosis of MS and had all but lost my mobility and my neuro told me the best thing I could do was to walk is when exercise "took hold" of me.

Quote:
Its often written here not to push yourself and to stop before you feel pain which I agree is great advice in general but in my experience as a person before and after MS without feeling some pain/fatigue I'm not getting a decent work out, especially if I'm starting a new regimen.
I think the issue of not pushing yourself has alot to do with trying not to overdo it and not getting knocked on your butt for a few days or more.

I am one of those who will push and go beyond what I believe my limits are. Sometimes I pay for it and sometimes I don't.

I expect to be fatigued and possibly deal with pain after a workout. I find this to be moreso since I started strength training --- I don't care if I am fatigued or have some pain after I work out. The benefits of weight training has been amazing to me.

I absolutely LOVE weight training and since it is a 4 station weight machine my husband and I workout together. He worries more about me overdoing it than I do.
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  #15  
Old 03-18-2013, 09:45 AM
Jules A Jules A is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SNOOPY View Post
I am one of those who will push and go beyond what I believe my limits are. Sometimes I pay for it and sometimes I don't.

I expect to be fatigued and possibly deal with pain after a workout. I find this to be moreso since I started strength training --- I don't care if I am fatigued or have some pain after I work out. The benefits of weight training has been amazing to me.
I have always been one to push the envelope and like you, sometimes it bites me in the butt and other times it doesn't.

I'm sure as my MS continues to progress I will be forced to adjust my expectations and approach...but also as I just get older which is right up there with MS on my list of gripes!!

If nothing else I want to be able to look back and know that I was active and worked hard for as long as I was able.
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