31 Days of MS: Exercise has made me strong despite my MS

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by BioNews Staff |

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An photo illustration for 31 Days of MS, where people share their stories of life with this disease.

Photo courtesy of Natalina Larsson

Day 5 of 31

This is Natalina Larsson’s story:

My name is Natalina. I’m 35 years old and live in Sweden. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in June 2021. My MS symptoms are balance difficulties, dizziness, physical fatigue, tremor, spasticity in both legs, and heat sensitivity. I can’t walk for more than a couple of minutes before my legs give up.

In December 2021, I found a physiotherapist through the neurology clinic at my hospital who was determined that I should start exercising. I didn’t understand how I could manage to exercise when I suffered from MS fatigue. But I promised to give the home exercises 30 days.

On Dec. 25, I laid down on the floor and did simple exercises using nothing but my body weight.

There were balance exercises, bodyweight hip thrusts, body control exercises, squats, planks. I couldn’t stand on one leg without holding something and sweat was pouring. It was a very hard 10 minutes, but I made it!

Now the idea was that I would establish a routine and work out three times per week at home. After a few weeks, I found the workouts were fun, so I increased the duration.

The effects: I wasn’t as tired, and I felt my body getting stronger every day.  It also was a great help for my mental illness and significantly reduced my anxiety.

I’ve now been training for more than a year and have lost 75 pounds — so far.

I’ve wanted to give up many times. I’ve cried. I’ve been frustrated. My body refused to cooperate with my brain. But the training had so many positive effects and that’s what kept me working out.

In July 2022, I got a membership and went to my local gym for the first time in my entire life. I was nervous but I made it through.

I’ve had a lot of setbacks this year: pneumonia, colds, a dislocated knee, and increased MS symptoms. But I’ve kept on exercising.

Now I train about 5-7 hours every week and my gym feels like home. I am motivated by endorphins and increased body control. Working out has given me a strong and beautiful body.

Multiple Sclerosis News Today’s 31 Days of MS campaign will publish one story per day for MS Awareness Month in March. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofMS, or read the full series.