I won’t pretend that exercise is on top of your mind if you suffer from MS. It can be painful enough to just get through the day, let alone dedicating time for activity.
But making that effort could lead to significant improvements in your health, and I’m not just talking about pain relief. It could reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
New research has determined that people with multiple sclerosis, which can lead to debilitating pain, weakness, fatigue, and more, are also at higher risk for heart attack and stroke.
To be specific, the British study found that people with MS were nearly one-in-three times more likely to have a “macrovascular disease.” These diseases affect large blood vessels in the body, and heart attacks and strokes are examples.
People with MS were one-and-a-half times more likely to die from a heart attack or stroke than those without the condition, and more than three times more likely to die from any cause.
Part of this may be attributable to inflammation caused by the disease. Systemic inflammation is a known contributor to heart disease and stroke, so that may play a factor. But modifiable factors like exercise could play a role in improving heart health and lowering inflammation.
Exercise, after all, can reduce blood pressure and blood sugar.
Activity has been found to improve MS symptoms for many who participate. Low-impact aerobic exercise at a moderate level can help reduce pain, ease the burden on blood vessels, and potentially reduce the risk for stroke or heart attack.
Low-impact aerobic exercise includes activities like walking, dancing, cycling, swimming, or aqua-fit. Incorporating stretching into your routine, like yoga or tai-chi, is also a good idea and is generally manageable.
If you’ve got MS, it’s worthwhile talking to your doctor about adopting an exercise routine. It could be substantially more beneficial than you think!