Drawing on her experiences working as a personal trainer and sports nutrition advisor, Diana, who was diagnosed with MS last year, shares her top tips for living well with the condition.
My 5 top tips for living well with MS
Hello my name is Diana. I was diagnosed with MS last year (15 months ago if anyone is counting… I am) and it came as a HUGE shock. Shortly after diagnosis I read so much information around living well with MS and how important maintaining a healthy lifestyle is in helping to manage the disease. For me, this means keeping as well as possible to allow me to maintain largely the same activities I have always been used to doing; namely walking everywhere (I drive too, but walking has always seemed a great dose of free exercise!) and training in the gym (I’m a qualified personal trainer). I never really ‘sit still’ and I don’t plan to anytime soon. With any luck.
A bit of trial and experience over the last year (15 months, did I say?!) has led me to put together these five tips for living well with MS which on a practical basis help me to feel ‘good’ and better-able to cope with any niggling symptoms MS gives me.
My top five tips for living well with MS
1. Stay hydrated and cool. Water is a close friend of mine – I’m rarely without a bottle in my bag or in the car. Despite my treatment seemingly working (everything crossed) my original ‘limpy-leg’ can return if I run ‘too far, too fast’ ie get too hot. I always take a bottle of half-frozen water to the gym and top it up once I get there which helps to cool me down when I run and hopefully guard against ‘limpy leg’ returning. I also tend to wear thinner gym clothes and strappy tops to try to keep cool and use the fans built into the treadmill and other machines.
2. Sleep. I’ve noticed I don’t seem to sleep as well as I did pre-diagnosis and I’ve always needed a decent amount of sleep – I was never the party animal existing on a few hours sleep here or there. I make a point of going to bed early with a book, not drinking caffeine in the evening or eating supper too late.
3. Exercise. I have always been a keen gym-goer but I now focus more on strengthening my left side as it is noticeably weaker these days. For example, I train each side separately on the shoulder-press machines using different weight increments for each side and I can easily use the leg-press machines with one leg at a time. This will hopefully go some way to prevent ‘limpy leg’ returning too.
4. Healthy diet. This feels like a bit of a ‘fake’ tip as I have always been really conscious of eating healthily and haven’t really changed much; I focus heavily on vegetables (I’m vegetarian) and make everything from scratch; ‘batch-cooking’ Sundays are a ‘thing’ in our house. I’m secretly looking forward to the cooler weather when roasted Brussel sprouts are back in season!
5. Relaxation. As I said in my introduction I am not very good at sitting still, although I am trying to make time for it now and read a book or watch a film. I struggle to engage in films but I’m really trying to get into it as it’s something we can all enjoy together. That said, I do enjoy a massage or two, so perhaps I need to spend more time doing that!
My belief is that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can't NOT help to some degree if only to make us feel better that we are 'doing something' - and fighting back against MS. I believe that it can't not help to try; who's with me?
Government announce they will not purchase Covid-19 vaccine Evusheld
17/08/2022 - 00:00
The UK government have announced that they do not plan to purchase any of the Covid-19 drug Evusheld.
My accidental diagnosis led to a new career: Daniel's story
16/08/2022 - 00:00
After finding out that he had multiple sclerosis by accident, Daniel’s life changed entirely. He tells us about how the unexpected news led him to become a doctor.
From London to Scotland: an update on the cycling adventures of Lis
12/08/2022 - 00:00
A few months into her challenge, fundraiser, Lis van Lynden shares an update and some of the highlights from her 5,000 mile cycle around the coast of Great Britain.
Sign up for updates from us
Keep up-to-date with the latest MS news, explore new research, read the stories of people living with MS, find out practical tips from MS experts, and discover exciting fundraising opportunities.