New Exercise Guidelines for People with Multiple Sclerosis


According to Multiple Sclerosis News Today, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society recently released new exercise guidelines for people with multiple sclerosis. Exercise is extremely beneficial to health, for those with or without any health conditions. It can improve muscle strength, build endurance, and promote healthier cardiovascular function. For those with multiple sclerosis, exercise lifts energy levels and promotes overall wellness. Read the full set of recommended guidelines within Multiple Sclerosis Journal.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disorder in which someone’s immune system attacks the myelin sheath, or the protective covering of nerve cells. This leads to a breakdown in brain-body communication. Women are 2x more likely to develop MS than men.

Symptoms of multiple sclerosis include loss of coordination and balance, muscle weakness and numbness, and issues with speech, bladder control, and vision. These symptoms usually appear between the ages of 20 and 40. Learn more about multiple sclerosis here.

New Guidelines

Studies show that people with MS are generally less active than those without the condition. However, an article in Nature Reviews Neurology states that exercise is helpful for this group because:

it [benefits] muscle strength, aerobic capacity and ambulatory performance, and may improve fatigue, gait, balance, and quality of life.

In an attempt to stimulate exercise and physicality, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society created their guidelines based on insight from:

  • Community health professionals
  • Occupational and physical therapists
  • Doctors and nurses
  • Exercise scientists

MS Recommendations

The recommendations and guidelines include the following:

  • All patients with MS should get at least 2.5 hours worth of exercise or physical activity each week.
    • Exercise is defined as physical activity done during someone’s spare (leisure) time. It is done repeatedly over an extended period with a specific motivation or goal, such as muscle development or weight loss, in mind.
    • Physical activity is defined as activities that are moderate to vigorous, performed at least 30 minutes at a time.
  • Patients should speak with their healthcare providers to determine specific exercise-related goals. Specialists can create a personalized exercise plan that takes into account a patient’s ability, physical function, and other factors.
  • For patients with relatively mild physical symptoms, suggested activities include biking, weight training, yoga, pilates, and running.
  • Suggested activities for those with wheelchairs include core and arm training, stretching, and breathing techniques.
  • Patients who must stay in a chair or bed, or have relatively severe physical symptoms, should discuss training and activity plans with a specialist.

The guidelines differ for healthcare professionals. For this group:

  • Doctors should routinely ask patients about their physical health, how they are feeling, and whether any exercise is being performed.
  • Doctors should recommend potential strategies for easier, effective, and healthy exercises.

Looking for more exercise examples or guided exercise videos? You can find them here.

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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