Tag Archives: MS and exercise

I’m Using It, So I Won’t Lose It!

The ‘it’ I’m talking about here is my mobility. I know I’m mentioned it here before, sometime, that when my Neurologist told me I had MS, he told me to keep on walking, while I could. ‘Use it, or lose it’, were his very words.

It’s been over ten years since then, and at the moment, I’m certainly being mobile. I’m walking extra steps almost every day, and have worked up to 2000 extra steps, which amounts to 1 kilometre. Not a bad effort, when I remember back to the time when MS came along, and walking 50 metres without a walking stick would have been almost impossible.

Things sure have change now, the walking is a great help, and the more of it I do, the more of it I can do. I am certainly aware of how much more difficult life would become if I was unable to walk, for me, and for my family and friends. Having the ability to walk is something we learn as toddlers, and if we are lucky, that ability stays with us for the rest of our lives.

I’ve seen a loss of that ability, and while it wasn’t a long term disaster , it did change things for the family and friends I mentioned. Sitting on the sofa, or in a wheelchair had to happen, or using a nifty gadget called a Knee Walker. That was when I broke my ankle over a year ago. What a tedious time that could have been.

I was having to sit on our sofa almost non stop during the day, with my husband getting my food and drinks, as needed. It wasn’t tedious for me though, but probably was for my husband. He was a star, and I definitely made sure I told him I appreciated all he’d done for me.

My writing group had had to meet up online instead of in person, at our usual spot, while I was getting over my broken ankle, which ended up going OK, and we realised an online/in person hybrid group could work, and so that’s what we do now – from accidents can come different and sometimes better ways of doing things.

And the really awesome thing was that I ended up putting together a little chapbook of poems about my broken ankle, called Angles on Ankles! I could have been bored, but wasn’t, I was having a great time being creative with words! And I had ample opportunity to keep an eye on the birds in our front yard, looking out of the window that is right there near me, when seated, or reclining on the sofa, as I had to back then.

This sofa is where I do most of my writing at home still, sitting with my laptop on my lap is where I am writing right now. I’ll get up and do some of my extra steps soon though. Sitting is fine, getting up and walking is also fine, a combo of both? Perfect! I haven’t done any ‘extra steps’ at all today. I have done a different exercise though, step ups using the steps into and out of our pool, holding onto the safety rail we had installed to make it possible for me to easily to use the pool.

That exercise sure gets my heart pumping in a way merely walking never does, so I’m glad my support worker who was here today came outside with me and counted the steps I did. 25 holding on with rail on my left side, and then moved around the rail and 25 more holding on with rail on right side. Bang, bang, bang went me heart, and then stop and rest, then go back inside. An excellent exercise done, safely.

The more I do, the more I can do, Multiple Sclerosis, having a disability might slow me down sometimes, but it also gives me new ideas and possibilities! Life can be like that, can’t it?

Chore or Exercise?

Sometimes for people who have disabilities, just getting up in the morning can be a chore. Then, when you add, feeding yourself, getting clean and ‘nice’ and further, if you need to go out, putting in an extra effort to look presentable to the public, whoa just typing the words makes me tired!

My keyboard and hand. Hmm. I must get that ring out and wear it again!

But if you wish to become more able to do things, when you have Multiple Sclerosis, the buzz phrase is ‘Use It Or You’ll Lose It’, and so these days, people are encouraged to do exercise to help themselves remain mobile, if they are actually mobile, and to exercise while seated if mobility is a problem for them, as it is for many with MS.

Not all people with MS have such mobility problems, particularly these days, with better understanding, and better medications and other treatments. I am one of the more mobile people with MS, on a good day (ie, not to hot, and if I am not feeling stressed), I can walk easily up to 500 metres.

I certainly am glad about that, I like being able to get around easily in my community! So I’ve been doing more exercise, these days, simple things, that I can do at home, with minimal equipment. Walking. That is such a basic thing, many people don’t think of it as being exercise, but it is.

My main exercise thing is indeed that, walking. I’ve been making a point, a few times in a week, of walking extra steps at home, brisk steps, and counting those steps. I know that two of my brisk steps equal on metre, therefore, if I walk 500 brisk steps, I have walked 250 metres. This is in addition to any usual walking I do to walk around the house and outside, doing the ordinary everyday things we all do. The brisk steps are extra ones, they are exercise.

So I do these steps both inside the house, walking briskly from room to room, into and out of rooms, counting the steps as I go, and outside of the house. Outside, I might walk up and down the back or front veranda. Or I may walk around our swimming pool (50 steps, I’ve counted!). I feel good about having begun this plan, and while I know it would be good if I did it every day, I also know that just isn’t going to happen. Life gets in the way.

Our swimming pool

Another exercise I just thought about today, is How about thinking about household chores as exercises?! Haha, I hate housework, and am very glad that my husband does most of it, as my carer. But today, I had to, no actually, I chose to, do the washing, and hung it out. But I told myself I was going to do some bending and stretching exercise outside in the sunshine, and that way, hanging out the washing felt like a good thing to do, not a chore!

And later on today, I’ll do some more stretching, when I go out to the clothesline to bring in the washing, and some weights to carry it inside. After that, there will be some bending, to get the washing out of the basket, and stretching, to put away it all away in drawers and the wardrobe!

Hooray to exercising, and hooray to me for thinking of this cunning plan, to rename things, and find enjoyment and that needed movement! I’m definitely moving it, because I sure don’t want to lose it – mobility is my friend! If you stop thinking about parts of your life being a chore, your whole life can feel better!

Trips, Falls with Multiple Sclerosis

People with MS are more likely than people who don’t have MS to have relatively frequent falls. Not all people with MS, but more than others.

I certainly fall more that other people of the same age, who don’t have MS or similar condition. When I am being ‘good’ and exercising often, I build up my strength and my sense of where I am, my spatial awareness, and while I may have near falls, I have fewer actual falls.

Keeping moving around, doing some housework kinds of things, or simply walking, these things can be useful, and I try to do at least some things that involve getting up and moving around. Today, I helped out with the washing, and had more reminders that trips and falls are always possibilities for me.

I certainly didn’t fall, but had a couple of near trips that could have been nasty if I’d actually fallen. I didn’t though, and I’m glad. I’m also glad these thoughts have led to a new poem, about the subject.

 

TRICKS & TRIPS

Housework, reasons to move around

Good times, getting jobs all done

But the going outside is bumpy not smooth

 

Bending & stretching are good that’s true –

getting clothes washed, hung out & dried,

then brought back in then put away,

 

The risk of falls though is ever-present

Three near falls today, not actual ones

But near, it’s the wake up call I need.

 

These reminders ensure I step carefully –

An almost fall, that’s better than another

Meeting with hardness of the ground!

 

So three near falls, and zero actual ones

They’re the stats I like to have, it’s the way

I like it, I can laugh at gravity’s harsh tricks!

How to Help Yourself

There have been some interesting results from ‘the experts’ on lifestyle and Multiple Sclerosis, that back up some of my thoughts and the thoughts of other sufferers. This is a link to the study by BMC Psychiatry I’m talking about.

The researchers had 2459 participants to be involved in a questionnaire that covered a broad range of issues. It was found that around a fifth of the respondents said they suffered from depression and it has been found that those with MS are more likely than the general populace to commit suicide.

Certainly feeling you are suffering from a disease that will be with you for your entire life could make a person feel that way. This research show ways that can be used by sufferers to assist with a better life, where they can more easily take part in ‘normal’ life. Keeping to yourself and to getting out and about won’t help, but with MS, mobility issues can stop a person from being able to actually get ‘out and about’.

It can feel at times like a no-win situation. But knowing some easy things can actually help you can certainly help you to see some ways you can get some wins. This is from the study: “Regression analyses showed that poor diet, low levels of exercise, obesity, smoking, marked social isolation and taking interferon were associated with greater depression risk. Participants who supplemented with omega 3s, particularly flaxseed oil, had frequent fish consumption, supplemented with vitamin D, meditated, and had moderate alcohol consumption had significantly reduced depression risk.”

On a personal level, I can say that I am trying some of the things that seemed to help. I currently take vitamin D supplements, eat a healthy diet with an increased level of vegetables and fruit. I take fish oil capsules (I can’t eat fish). I also try to exercise several times a week, using our Wii Fit machine.

I know that when I am exercising regularly, I feel more able to do more. At the moment I think I’m still in ‘Christmas’ mode, and the exercise isn’t happening. We’ve had extremely hot weather too, and it looks like that will continue for a while longer. I have good air conditioning in the house though, so really, I could be doing more. I’m getting over a bd fall I had recently, and once I’m more over that, I’ll get back to my exercises. I know I’ve written those words many, many times!

I’m interested in hearing from others who do some of these things that help them go OK with their MS.