Last reply 2 weeks ago
Exercise advice!

Hi all!
Il try not to go on …
I used to be quite fit and active, loved running especially. Since having children (aged 3 and 4 now) iv piled weight on and not had much time for exercise.
But iv recently got motivated to shift the weight and get active again.
Trouble is, i dont last very long before i get tired. Weirdly, its not the kind of ‘i need a nap’ tired, but my limbs go like lead! And afterwards, it seems to take days rather than hours to recover. Sometimes getting bad cramps at night after iv exercised.
My friends advise is ‘oh you’re just unfit, push through, feel the burn and you’l soon get your fitness back!’ But im struggling with this as iv been ‘unfit’ in the past but this seems different.
How do you tackle exercise? Should i push through? Will it improve?
Thanks in advance for any advice/experiences
Beky (32, RRMS diagnosed 12 months ago)

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silvana_hansen
4 weeks ago

@beky Sounds like muscle fatigue which is impossible to ignore. When you hurt that much you have to rest and recover. A physiotherapist might help give you safe exercises. The NHS might be able to help or a Therapy Centre.


lukezni
4 weeks ago

I personally don’t do cardio, not sure how my limbs would cope with it but I know my breathing goes out of sync and I get extremely hot when running etc so I just don’t bother doing it. I powerlift 5-6 times a week. I have found that if I don’t I’ll feel more fatigued which sounds weird? Maybe do more beneficial workouts in a shorter period of time rather than pushing through until you ‘feel the burn’? Low salt levels can cause cramps in your muscles so you could add some more salt into each meal and see if that helps.


itsmewithms
4 weeks ago

Not sure if it is the effect of my hip replacement or MS but I totally can’t get into any cardio type program at all! I certainly can’t do anything like jump where both feet leave the ground at the same time ;-0 I will be asking about workout recommendations at my Mayo appointment! Thanks for having me add that to the list!


chezy17
4 weeks ago

I do body combat, Aqua aerobics and a couple of classes. I mix it up abit, I don’t suffer with overheating and I’m probably one of the ones that push through it but that’s just me. I walk alot when I’m not exercising but I do try to nap before I do my exercise class to help with energy. I’m also a mum to an 11 and 6 year old so somehow can’t blame the excess on them both now πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. Exercise does help me with the fatigue but you have to push through the pre exercise fatigue sometimes πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ πŸ˜‚.


stumbler
4 weeks ago

@beky, your mate is definitely one of the “no pain, no gain” brigade. Or as I know them, “No pain, no brain”!

Moderation is key for you. Little and often. You can build up slowly. Just don’t over-do it or allow yourself to over-heat.

Swimming is the best exercise – low impact, buoyancy and keeping cool.


cammo
4 weeks ago

@beky I find cycling ok with my MS. When I was first diagnosed I was still racing and after a hard race I would be on my back the rest of the day feeling like I was hung over.
I dont race any more but still try to cycle 40km a day at a much much slower pace. At this slower pace I can maintain a bit of fitness and dont have the same washed out fatigue that came with over exertion. Plus it is very social to ride along chatting to a mate.
My advice would be – find a low impact sport that you enjoy which gives you the ability to ramp up or down your exertion levels. Find the level (duration, distance, speed) which matches your ability and start slow… dont push through. You wont keep up the sport if you are flat out in bed for 2 days every time you exercise.
I wouldn’t recommend running personally… I can cycle 200km fine (albeit with a sore arse after) but make me run 5km and I am buggered.
Take is slow and make sure you are having fun.


elisabeth_turner
4 weeks ago

@beky I was similar to you. Always been active. Ran 3 marathons post diagnosis. Definitely been of the push through mentality….but….I only ever pushed through the mental tiredness! My fatigue is very much a mental one where my brain just wants to switch off, but it didn’t stop me running. In fact the running helped my brain to switch off. What you are experiencing is muscle fatigue and this shouldn’t just be run through! In the last year it has got to me too. I can’t run for more than 5 minutes without getting muscle cramps. I agree with @stumbler, little and often, and built it up. And swimming is probably better than running (although more of a faff!). And Pilates. xx


chantals
4 weeks ago

I would keep going and find ways of exercising regularly that suit you. It takes time to increase fitness. I started exercising less due to MS issues which made feel worse. I felt very unfit and it took me a year of consistent training to build it back up. I feel fit and strong now. I have bad days and weeks but I stick to my exercise regime, slowing it a bit down when necessary and taking more time for recovery. I believe that regular practice with consistency over time pays off for everyone but it’s even important for people with chronic disease.


chantals
4 weeks ago

I just want to add that what might work for someone else might not work for you. I had to stop road cycling, spinning and HIIT because I feel unwell when my heart rate gets up too high. For me, it’s not related to heat intolerance but due to cardiovascular strain. I now do vinyasa yoga, yin/restorative yoga, functional fitness and stand up paddle boarding. Swimming does not work for me because I cannot tolerate cold or cool conditions. I am fine with heat. Take time to discover what works for you now. We are all so different. Our MS is so different, what works for me may not work for you, and what worked for you in the past may no longer work for you right now. Good luck!

hey @becky – I’d say go until you can’t (reasonably), but then make sure you’re eating right as well, otherwise you’ll struggle to recover.

I’d been trying to hammer exercise for a year or so before I realised i just wan’t eating what i needed to to repair the damage i was doing to the muscle.

There’s a YT channel called ‘the MS gym’ which might be useful for you – lots of specific isolations, depending on where you are in this MS journey and what you need to work on.

Or, just work out variatins for exercises you can’t quite do, and aim for the full version after time

sorry – @beky !


bruceter
2 weeks ago

Climbing gym! I can’t walk worth a damn, so my grade has slipped precipitously, and I can do an hour only these days, but the total focus is great to forget yourself, it’s good for all over strength, the people are ace and it’s good fun.


fingersandtoes
2 weeks ago

I think you can run again if you really want to. Try couch to 5k but maybe take double the time – so do week 1 twice, week 2 twice. Week 1 is 1 minute run, 1 minute walk x 9-10. Think you can manage that? I am an England Athletics qualified run leader – I can send you a plan if you like.


ophelia
2 weeks ago

I have never been one to exercise, bit having lost 4st in the last year, I now go to the gym. I avoid cardio on days where I’m feeling particularly fatigued, or it’s hot, bit I’ve found weight and resistance training perfect for me. CrossFit style exercises have really improved my fitness levels and the inches are just falling off!


karen51
2 weeks ago

You sound exactly like me. I used to run 4 miles a day at lunch time and now can hardly walk 2 miles without my legs turning to lead. Be careful of starting a running regime again. I tried and found that I was falling a lot. So I now use the elliptical machine and a stationary bike for my cardio. Both of these machines keep my legs moving and give me something to hold/grab onto when one of my legs decides not to take the next step. I also have a physical therapist (as we call them in the USA) who watches my movements and tells me what I need to concentrate on. I saw her for a regular round of therapy about a year ago and now I just contact her when I feel like something isn’t right. That has helped me immensely – to work on the muscles that aren’t working just right so that I am able to push through some modified cardio.
@chezy17 and @stumbler – I like the idea of aqua aerobics and swimming! If my legs give out, I won’t fall flat on my face. Thanks for the suggestion!


noelie
2 weeks ago

@beky i second @poorusernamechoice go check the website of the MS Gym http://www.themsgym.com (their Youtube channel is very light in comparison to their membership) I wish I had known all i’ve learn in the MS gym straight from dx.

I was a cardio maniac / addict, walked everywhere , tried to carry on, push through… in less than 2 years i could barely walk. In MS the nervous system is damaged, we need to fix that before anything else (cardio, muscles, they come after). Please, please, please do not run, not now. Ignore your friends, they have not clue what’s going on in your body. Rest, for you and your kids. Learn about Neuroplasticity (Norman Doidge books), you have lesions in your brain / spinal cord, do not let your body compensate (using the wrong muscles because your brain cannot send signal to the correct one will create imbalance in the body and that will only get worse and worse). I am relearning to walk, slow progress because i’ve messed up my body so badly with the wrong exercises. The MS Gym teaches the right way to move, it’s not cardio workouts, it’s neuroplasticity / nervous system workouts, they are pre-hab / re-hab. Yes you can improve with the right tools. I have a 4.5 yo. Happy to talk if you’re interested in more info. x


caromawer
2 weeks ago

I know some others have said this – but please look at the MS gym channel.
I’ve had MS 30+ years – had a huge cant-stand-up relapse 2 months ago. NHS neurophysio said ‘rest’ . Since I was moving house, I obvs couldnt do that!
Found MS gym. Its great!
eg Walked 9.2 km yesterday – 70 mins fast – just going places not specifically exercising. Please check MS gym out – dont just keep forcing yourself! Good luck – and enjoy the ride! Best wishes

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