working out in a pool can be a great physical activity for those with MS. Swimming, water walking ans water aerobics can be adapted to a broad range of MS symptoms, from mild to severe. Over heating can worsen MS symptoms, so make sure the water in the pool isn’t too warm. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society recommends a water temperature between 80 and 84 degrees F.
Strength training should be apart of your exercise plan if you have MS, and wall squats will help strengthen your leg muscles.
- Stand about a foot from the wall, with your back to the wall.
- Lean back so your shoulders, torso, and hips are flat against the wall.
- Slowly slide down the wall about an inch, but not to where your booty is all the way out. Bending your knees and keeping your body flat against the wall so that your knees are parallel (or nearly parallel) to the floor.
- Hold that position for about 5 seconds and then push with your legs to the starting position.
Begin with about five repetitions until you familiarize yourself with the movements, if you fall down its okay get back up and try again. Just get to familiarize yourself with how far you can go down and come back up with a good form.
If your knees bother you don’t slide down as low.
Hand weights and leg weights can be added to this exercise but I do not recommend them until you get comfortable with what you are doing.
Traditional planks are hard for some people with MS, if they are hard for you try a modified plank (pictured on right.)
- Lie on your stomach or on a exercise mat, with your elbows close to your sides. Directly under your shoulders, palms down and fingers facing forward.
- Engage your Ab/Core muscles, it should feel like you are tightening a corset around your ribs, waist and lower torso.
- Slowly lift your torso and the upper part of your thighs off the mat, while knees remain on mat.
- Do not allow your lower back to sag or the hips to lift up in the air.
- You should remain away from the ears. (if wrist pain is a issue, drop the elbows.)
Try this position a couple of minutes before moving onto an elbow plank so you understand the concept of how to engage your core.
Elbow Plank: Core Strengthening
- Keep body in a straight line, ears, shoulder, hips. and heels.
- Elbows directly under shoulders.
- Keep stomach muscles and core muscles tight.
- Squeeze glutes while maintaining correct form.
Glute Bridge: Multi-Muscle Conditioning
This exercise is great for working out your legs, glutes, lower back, and abdominal muscles.
- Lie on back, with your hands at your sides.
- Bring your feet in towards your glutes, keep your feet flat on the floor.
- Contract stomach muscle, pulling your belly button button in towards your spine.
- Exhale as you lift your hips by tightening your glute muscles. At the top of the movement, your body should form a diagonal line, from your knees to your chest.
- Pause briefly and then inhale as you restore to the starting position.
- Work up to 10 to 12 repetitions.
Let’s be honest: Push-up’s are hard! Especially if you are just getting into a fitness routine, sometimes you don’t have the strength needed to perform a full push-up and that’s okay!
- Begin in a kneeling position on a mat with hands below shoulders and knees behind hips so back is angled and long.
- Tuck toes under, tighten abdominals, and bend elbows to lower chest toward floor. Keep your eyes on the front of your fingertips so neck stays long.
- Press chest back up in start position.
- Repeat for desired number of repetitions.
Works triceps, chest. shoulders, biceps, and back.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a weight in each hand with your arms in front of your body, palms facing forward. (If two weights is too heavy just use one.)
- Slowly curl your hands toward your shoulders, squeezing your biceps. Keep your elbow tight to the sides of your body.
- Rotate the weights so your palms are facing in toward either side of your face.
- Press the weights overhead to touch, straightening your elbows completely. Make sure to keep your core engaged and hips tucked under to avoid arching your lower back as you lift your arms.
- Slowly bend your elbows to lower the weights back down to your shoulders. Then, rotate the weights so your palms are facing toward your body and bring them back to the starting position.
- Repeat for desired number of repetitions. 10 or 12 Don’t over do it.
Lunges: Lower Body Strengthening
I’m going to be honest with you guy… My body hates lunges! But they are really good for your body, not only do they help sculpt and tone your lower body, but they also make everyday tasks easier. As one of the basic functional movement patterns. lunges mimic the way we walk, run and climb stairs.
- Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides, on your hips, or in prayer position in front of your chest. Step your right leg back keeping both toes facing forward.
- Bend your left knee, keeping your knee directly over your ankle. Your right heel should be lifted off the ground, your right knee should be hovering above the ground (but not touching it) keep your abs tight and lean your chest forward slightly to work your glutes.
- Hold for one to two seconds, then return to standing position.
- Repeat 10 to 15 times alternating sides.
Calf Raises: Balance Training
It works the calf muscles and the two muscles that attach the heal bone via your Achilles tendon – and the plantaris, that tendon that most of us know as plantar fasciitis. This move is great to improve ankle stability, strength, and subsequently overall balance.
- Stand on flat surface with your toes pointed straight ahead.
- Lift your heels off the floor to flex calf muscle.
- Pause for a moment.
- Then slowly return to the floor, in starting position.