Research has provided evidence to support that exercise is beneficial and safe for people living with MS and it is now considered to be an important aspect of the overall management of the disease. In 2013, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology released the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults with MS to provide a basis for exercise prescription, target goals for promoting physical activity and to serve as a benchmark for monitoring activity levels among individuals with MS.
These Guidelines are appropriate for adults (aged 18-64 years) with minimal to moderate disability resulting from either relapsing-remitting or progressive forms of multiple sclerosis irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity or socio-economic status. People living with MS, their families, health care professionals and organizations that promote exercise or serve adults with MS may use these Guidelines as a tool for making exercise recommendations or developing exercise programs.
Resources to get you started
MS Get Fit Toolkit – fitness tips, activity ideas and ways to overcome barriers to physical activity
MS Get Fit Toolkit Online - online module includes the benefits of physical activity, exercise videos, setting physical activity goals, choosing activities and personal stories from individuals living with MS
Get in Motion is a free physical activity counseling service, designed to provide individuals with the information and support they may need to meet their personal physical activity goals. Counseling is provided by a peer with a physical disability. (A SCI Action Canada service.)
Active Living Leaders is an online training program for people living with MS interested in becoming physical activity champions. The goal of this program is to help people living with MS develop into a peer mentor who is able to use the latest physical activity knowledge, sport resources, and transformational leadership principles to inform and motivate adults living with physical disabilities to lead more active lives. (A SCI Action Canada service.)
Planning sheets – tool for planning your fitness routine
Basic exercise moves – how-to sheet for basic exercises that target different muscle groups
Physical Activity Guide – This guide was developed for people who have MS who would like to start an exercise program.
Read more about MS and physical activity in the Spring/Summer 2014 issue of MS Canada.
- You may wish to speak to a health professional to find out what types and amounts of physical activity are appropriate for you.
- A health professional might include a doctor, a physiotherapist, or a qualified exercise professional.
- If you are currently physically inactive, activities performed at a lower intensity, frequency, and duration than recommended may bring some benefit.
- Gradually increase duration, frequency, and intensity as a progression towards meeting the guidelines.