Exercise for people with multiple sclerosis

Exercise can help a person who has multiple sclerosis (MS) to:

  • Get the most out of the muscles.
  • Maintain and increase endurance.
  • Improve flexibility and range of limb motion.
  • Improve cardiovascular fitness.
  • Prevent pressure sores.
  • Control weight.
  • Reduce the likelihood of becoming constipated. This is a particular problem for some people with MS.

Exercise can also promote a sense of achievement and well-being.

Exercise instruction by a physical therapist is often a part of a rehabilitation program. Even a person with advanced MS can benefit from passive exercise in which an assistant helps to move joints through their full range of motion.

There are also exercises for the person who cannot walk but can move the limbs and trunk. There are exercises to help with coordination and balance, which are often a problem for people with MS.

Abnormal muscle stiffness (spasticity) can be relieved by doing exercises while lying in certain positions.

Last Updated: February 18, 2010

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