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The benefits of resistance training for MS patient

By Rachel Jane
Benefits-of-resistance-tr_1.jpegResistance training — otherwise known as strength training — has been gaining a lot of buzz in the fitness world lately. This exercise method is a fantastic way to enhance your strength and endurance, as it's focused on working your muscles against a weight or force. Of course, if you've got multiple sclerosis but want to try it out, you may be feeling a little concerned that this type of workout could cause your body even more harm.

Fortunately, getting physically active can actually be beneficial for those with MS. As physical therapist Herb Karpatkin previously shared, regular exercise is essential for promoting movement and your overall health — as long as you do it safely and carefully.

If you're interested in practicing resistance training, here are its benefits and how you can get started.

Why you should practice resistance training for MS

Resistance training can significantly strengthen weakened muscles caused by MS, as it helps you gain mass while also toning muscles. However, its benefits go beyond the physical, as research has found that resistance training can also help increase the brain's development. In fact, a study published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal found different parts of the brain become thicker when participating in the exercise. In turn, this growth can help protect the brain from the effects of MS.

Moreover, drastic physical changes experienced by MS can severely affect one's mental health, resulting in stress, brain fog, and anxiety. With a feature on beating brain fog by Parsley Health noting that increased mental activity can lead to sharper mental acuity, as exercise continues to be an effective way to prevent stress and its physical effects. And let's not forget the endorphin boost you get after every exercise, which is always a valuable contribution to your wellbeing.

How to properly practice resistance training

While resistance training is indeed a helpful tool for improving your quality of life, it’s equally important to take it at your own pace. Unlike cardio exercises that require huge bursts of energy, resistance training is all about taking things slow and getting your movements to be as precise as possible using weightlifting equipment.

For those with MS, it's best to practice with lighter equipment, or just your body weight. Avoid pushing yourself because it can possibly lead to injury, and stick to the weight that you feel most comfortable with.

Another aspect to be cautious of is your body positioning. In resistance training, proper alignment can make all the difference when practicing it with MS. To prevent an injury, be sure that your body has the correct posture and form while carrying out each movement so that your muscles will feel more at ease. Don't forget to breathe properly to help your body feel more relaxed. For maximum safety, it is recommended to get the assistance of a trainer, especially when you're just adapting to a new workout.

Living with MS can take a serious toll on your body, but there's still a great amount of strength inside you. And once you harness that inner strength, you can participate in physical activities to improve your condition, such as resistance training. With proper preparation and education, you should get stronger in no time.