Top tips for staying active when you have MS

26 April 2017

Here are some of the top tips we have collected from people with MS who have successfully taken up exercising. You can read more about their experiences in our collection of exercise personal stories.

Do it your way

Exercise doesn't have to mean going to the gym or going out for a run; it could be something as simple as housework or a walk.

Make it part of your daily routine

You're more likely to stick with it if it's easy.  If you are in a wheelchair, while you are watching the TV you could use advert breaks to do some exercise: why not try some arm jogging while you are watching the meerkats? Or some balance work when you are putting the kettle on? 

Short can be sweet!

Just a minute of arm jogging with a bit of gusto will improve your heart rate and get you breathing deeper. There is growing evidence to show that doing short bursts of exercise, rather than one great long burst, will improve fitness. For people with MS, when fatigue and heat can be a factor, exercising like this can really help.

Pace yourself

Don't overdo it, especially if starting to exercise after a break. Listen to your body when it tells you to stop. You will get to learn how much you can manage in one go without leaving yourself exhausted. And remember that other important activities like work, cooking or parenting, take up energy too. Leave yourself enough in the tank to get through the day.

Stay cool

Everyone can feel lethargic in hot or humid weather, but with MS the effect is often exaggerated. Try using a fan or a cold water spray when exercising or have a cool bath before you start.

Remember to breathe!

It might sound obvious, but you'd be surprised by the number of people who hold their breath when they exercise.

Set up a nudge

Have a trigger to remind you to exercise. Maybe when the adverts or weather come on the television, or while waiting for the kettle to boil. Set an alarm on your phone?

Find out more

On this page