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EXERCISE

USE IT OR LOSE IT!


I believe exercise is VITAL in managing a condition like ms. If we get lazy ms will take advantage of any weakness in our system. At my lowest point when I became wheelchair bound, I was becoming trapped in a vicious cycle. Because of the ms I couldn't get enough exercise, which lead to weakness, muscle wastage, poor circulation and even bed sores.This state of NEGLECT left me wide open to further attack from ms! It was a nightmare scenario.


I managed to escape this vicious cycle through a combination of dietary changes and good nutrition, which gave me back enough ENERGY to ENABLE me to begin to EXERCISE more and more, and build up a Strength in my legs. This Strength I now feel helps me, relapse after relapse, to keep getting back on my feet! So I am now the one who is actually in CONTROL not the ms!

MY EXERCISE PROGRAMME NOW INVOLVES:


SWIMMING


FLOOR EXERCISES & YOGA


PHYSIOTHERAPY


RELAXATION TECHNIQUES & YOGA BREATHING PRACTICES


MEDITATION


SWIMMING


I make sure I go twice a week! I am lucky as I live just across the road from a great swimming pool ( UPPERTHORPE POOL, Sheffield, Tel. 0114 2702040) which has 'disabled' sessions and facilities! They even have an AQUA-GYM ( Multi-gym equipment but actually in the warm water). This, alongside the swimming, is great for exercising my muscles and getting my legs moving. I ALWAYS notice increased mobility after a good session!


What I am doing is BUILDING UP gradually over-time how much exercise I can do. However I do have to pace myself according to how I am feeling on that particular day. By doing too much I only end up getting a back-lash of stiffness and fatigue in my legs. Like with the ms, the amount I can do does fluctuate, which can be very frustrating, but I am now LEARNING to accept this. I now realise that every little bit COUNTS, large or small and I keep reminding myself that the over-all trend is Upwards!

RELAXATION TECHNIQUES & YOGA BREATHING PRACTICES


I have found that Relaxation techniques and Yoga Breathing help me to manage the ms, especially in over-coming fatigue. With the ms I often get very fatigued, feel shaky and anxious, and suffer 'brain-fog'. This is very frustrating because I am essentially a 'Doer', but I am beginning to learn to Stop at these times and Accept that I cannot expect to achieve all that I have set-out to do and that this is ok.

If I don't do this I am not listening to my body. I am simply trying to swim against the tide, which is inefficient, exhausting and sometimes even risky. Rather than forcing myself in this way I am better to stop and lie down, to totally Relax my body and use Yoga Breathing to quieten my mind and gradually revitalise my body's energy levels.


Concentrating on your breathing is an effective way of relaxing the body and quietening the mind. The are many Yoga Breathing techniques. A simple one is, sitting or lying in a comfortable position, exhale completely through the mouth, then inhale slowly and deeply for a count of six, hold the breath for six, and then exhale for six. Relaxing the body totally allows one to get soothing rest. Yoga Breathing and Meditation can re-energise the body by affecting autonomic nervous system and re-balancing the sympathetic and para-sympathetic nervous system. This breathing can be accompanied by various stretches of the body and limbs.

DAILY FLOOR EXERCISES & YOGA.


I have learned many very important floor exercises and stretches from a Physio Assistant, who comes out from the hospital to see me every two weeks. This combined with an excellent Yoga Video makes a wonderful exercise routine, which I do every morning (20-30 mins), and often in the evening too (while watching TV!).

The video, 'Yoga for people with Multiple Sclerosis' STEP by STEP, really got me started in the practice of Yoga, from which I, like many others with ms, have benefited greatly both physically and mentally.


This video caters for wheelchair and non-wheelchair users, was produced by 'The Yoga For Health Foundation'


I attended a 5 day 'Yoga for ms' course held at The Foundation, which involved doing lots of wonderful yoga, and relaxation, visualisation and meditation! I learnt a lot and enjoyed spending time with a great bunch of people, who are getting the attitude right, for whom ms is no excuse for not being themselves or getting on with their lives. Unfortunately the centre itself has had to close but it friends still help through its website. To find out more for yourself visit (The Yoga For Health Foundation)


I also attend a weekly local yoga class which I really enjoy. I am the only person therewith a disability but it doesn't stop me! Most of the exercises are floor-based but what I can't do I simply adapt to do either sat on a chair or on the floor!


Betty Iams is another great believer in the importance of yoga and regular exercise.So visit her website (Betty's House Life after MS) for more information and encouragement!

PHYSIOTHERAPY


I go to the South Yorkshire MS Therapy Centre, every couple of weeks for Physio. This involves treatment for tighten muscles and doing exercises particularly in standing and walking, correcting any bad habits and encouraging good body posture and movement.


I also receive monthly Reflexology Sessions at the Sheffield MS Therapy Centre from Julie the Reflexologist there. This therapy is so relaxing and I believe it really helps me to keep well and balanced. It is remarkable what Julie can tell about me just from my feet!

MEDITATION


I am only just beginning to learn about the importance of Meditation, quietening the mind and completely letting go. The meditation actually takes place in the gap between the thoughts I find in very difficult to achieve at all because my mind is always so active.


I begin meditation by sitting straight up and listening to the natural rhythm of the breath. When my mind wanders I simply note the thought (or chain of thoughts) without forcing them out or getting involved with them. Then I bring my focus back to the breath. After a few minutes I may start using a mantra (a word or short phrase), trying to keep my mind clear and focused on the what I am repeating. The word 'Aum', said to be the sound of the whole universe, makes a powerful mantra. A favourite phrase of mine is to say (out loud or in your mind) 'I breath in life' on the in-breath and 'I breath out peace' on the out-breath. Essentially the mantra can be any word or phrase of your choice.


Another favourite of mine is: 'May I be well' on the in-breath & 'May I find peace' on the out breath. After 5 minutes or so this can be changed to 'May all beings be well' on the in-breath & 'May all beings find peace' on the out-breath.


Towards the end of the meditation you may want to pray for someone you know or something you want. After you finish let it go and let the universe take care of the outcome, remembering that you may not always get what you want, you may get what you need, and trusting that this outcome will be in your best interest in the greater scheme of things.
















I am just a beginner but I intend to make Meditation a part of my daily routine. Many other people with ms benefit greatly from this practice . Meditation involves exploring your inner self so you can become detached from your everyday thoughts and desires. It is about bringing your mind under control so you can become more centred in yourself and hence more focused and objective. This peace of mind leads to a more balanced and a healthier body. A man with ms I met recently described meditation as 'medicine for the soul!'. I am eager to learn more about the subject!


LIFE'S TAPESTRY

"My life is but a weaving

Between my God and me

I may but choose the colours

He worketh steadily

Full oft He weaveth sorrow

And I, in foolish pride

Forget He sees the upper

And I the underside


Anon

Mail: brown.websites@gmail.com?subject=Living with MS - Exercise

Please Email me and tell me what exercises or relaxation techniques work for you?

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