5 Fitness Websites for MS

You can’t swing a sweaty workout towel these days without hitting an article or report about the health benefits of exercise to people with MS. “Exercise is quickly being recognized as one of the most important approaches for self-managing the consequences of MS,” said researcher Robert Motl in a November 7, 2017 MD magazine interview. Motl, PhD, Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Alabama at Birmingham, added, “Persons with MS who exercise can experience a range of benefits from improving symptoms such as fatigue and depression through optimizing quality of life.”

Motl, along with a team of international experts and researchers, examined the benefits of exercise to the MS population as well as exercise participation levels within that population. If Motl’s study served as a report card, let’s just say we’ve got room for improvement. A summary of their study, “Exercise in patients with multiple sclerosis,” in the Lancet reported that the MS “population typically engages in low levels of health-promoting physical activity compared with adults from the general population, a fact which has not changed in the past 25 years despite growing evidence of the benefits of exercise.” In other words, apparently we’re not bringing it.

With warm weather approaching in many areas of the world, it’s a great time to start establishing an exercise program. Here are some free or low-cost websites that can help (and as always, please consult your physician before beginning any new exercise or routine)!

MS Gym
Hosted by medical fitness practitioner and elite personal trainer Trevor Wicken, MS Gym is a free YouTube channel featuring multiple exercise “playlists” focused on general fitness for MSers (including upper body, core and length-strength) as well as very specific MS-related issues, including foot drop, walking, stretching to reduce spasticity and more. The MS-related exercises are posted live on Facebook every day of the week and on Saturdays users may participate in a real-time group session that works through every exercise from that week in a complete circuit. You’ll also find success stories along with inspirational and motivational videos to help you keep going.

Exercises for people with MS
Made possible by the UK’s MS Trust, this webpage features a comprehensive list of exercises “developed in partnership with a specialist neurophysiotherapist.” The exercises are separated into different categories based on the starting position (sitting, kneeling, standing or lying down) and the issues each exercise addresses, such as balance, posture or strength. Better yet, each of the exercises is depicted by a smiling animated stick figure who leads you through a complete workout of your design.

MORE: Hacks to make living with MS a little easier 

5 Yoga Poses for People with Multiple Sclerosis (+ Easy-to-Hard Variations)
Part of the Yoga Journal website, this page leads users through — you guessed it! — five yoga poses for people with MS. The poses vary from easy to more challenging to hard, require little more than a chair and a place to lie down and are readily depicted through a series of 15 photos.

Therapeutic Yoga for MS Videos
Created by Washington-based EvergreenHealth, this free, easy-to-use series of videos is led by Robin Rothberg, a certified yoga therapist specializing in multiple sclerosis. In 2011, Rothberg was asked to develop a yoga and exercise program for the Multiple Sclerosis Center at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland, Washington. That same year Rothberg’s husband of 33 years was diagnosed with MS. The series features exercise poses focused on breathing, core, lower back, neck and shoulders, balance and relaxation.

NCHPAD 14-Week Program
Made possible by the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD), this free web-based program is designed to help people with disabilities “meet their physical activity and nutrition goals over the course of 14 weeks.” It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner or have been focused on a healthy, active lifestyle for years, the program includes personalized exercises, motivational resources, weekly recipes, coaching, alerts and reminders and connectivity with other participants.

For additional information and resources, try the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s exercise page.

MORE: The importance of diet and nutrition in multiple sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Mike Knight is a longtime freelance writer, journalist and marketing communications professional who has written for a variety of publications over the past 20+ years including dailies, weeklies, monthlies and inflight magazines and now, MS News Today and also his own site, mikeknightwrites.com. He lives in Indianapolis, Indiana with his wife of 31 years and two cats and a bicycle he refuses to quit riding. After nearly 20 years of disparate illnesses, he was diagnosed with a progressive form of Multiple Sclerosis in 2013.
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Mike Knight is a longtime freelance writer, journalist and marketing communications professional who has written for a variety of publications over the past 20+ years including dailies, weeklies, monthlies and inflight magazines and now, MS News Today and also his own site, mikeknightwrites.com. He lives in Indianapolis, Indiana with his wife of 31 years and two cats and a bicycle he refuses to quit riding. After nearly 20 years of disparate illnesses, he was diagnosed with a progressive form of Multiple Sclerosis in 2013.
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7 comments

  1. Ed says:

    Trevor Wicken and The MS Gym has already grown to over 13,000 members in less than a year, and is one of the greatest tools and communities anywhere on the internet for those of us engaged in the day to day battle with MS and mobility issues.

  2. Kristin Posey says:

    The MS Gym is not only helping me to get stronger and more independent, it’s a place to find others like me. It’s a wonderful tool and has absolutely changed my life.

  3. Karen Junqueira says:

    Even though I will not stop exercising with my biokineticist, as I’ve been doing for the past 5 years, it does NOT ever get easier. It also does NOT make me feel stronger, happier, healthier or less MS disabled.
    Feelings of extreme dizziness take over each time my temperature rises because of the exercise, so that getting up from the floor after stretching seems to be the hardest part of the half-hour routine.
    At only 43 the staring faces of the other gymming community members are hardly something to smile at.
    But exercise I will, as it has health benefits… they say…

  4. David Kirschner says:

    I want to begin by going in one thousand directions at once. This from someone who knows how powerful this wretched multiple sclerosis can be. I’ve had thirty seven years experience and I say, the secret to continued moving is to continue to move. Try exercise regardless of your circumstances. It will make you stronger, guaranteed. Start slow but keep starting, your body will acclimatize. This is one area where you don’t have to cede to ms. The choice is yours! The best of luck to everyone.

  5. Greg Bond says:

    Exercise, but don’t do too much as it will fatigue you. Don’t exercise and you will feel fatigued. Eat a lot of fish as it’s good for you, but you’ll get mercury poisoning. Eat a high fat diet, but only the good fats, your brain needs them. Eat a low fat diet and you will slow your MS down. Going vegan is healthy or it’s not. Get plenty of sleep, but not too much or you won’t be able to get up and you will be sedentary. Get sunlight exposure for vitamin D, but you will also get skin cancer. Don’t smoke, it’s bad for you, but the poisons kill some germs and you won’t get Parkinson’s as well as MS.

    Just a little humor

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