Exercise and Relapsing-Remitting Disease: Benefits and Precautions

Exercise and Relapsing-Remitting Disease: Benefits and Precautions Sep, 4 2023

Understanding the Power of Exercise

Picture this: you vote for your daily jog and as you feel the pavement beneath your feet, your thoughts clear and you start to breathe easier, more deeply. My wife Evelyn is a massive advocate of this. She usually tells me, "Porter, you always seem much happier and positive when you come back from your run!" which is funny because she's right, I feel in tune with my body and everything seems a bit more manageable. But it's not just about mental health, physical exercise has profound impacts on physical health, especially for those dealing with relapsing-remitting diseases.

Just like you, your body craves movement. Exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, promotes cardiovascular health, muscle strength, flexibility, and mental wellbeing. While these benefits apply to everyone, they are even more crucial for individuals with relapsing-remitting diseases, a term used to describe conditions that feature periods of symptom flare-ups followed by times of recovery or remission.

Interpreting the Science: Exercise eases symptoms

According to several studies, regular physical activity can actually help manage symptoms and improve the quality of life in those with relapsing-remitting diseases. For example, exercise is an effective tool in the management of multiple sclerosis (MS), a common type of relapsing-remitting disease, where patients experience periods of new or increasing neurologic symptoms, followed by periods of partial or complete recovery.

Exercise improves cardio-respiratory function, muscle strength, balance, mobility and mood in patients with MS. Thanks to science, we can now say with confidence that the days of recommending rest and avoiding exertion to these patients are long past. The benefits here are twofold: Exercise not only helps manage the symptoms but also the stress that often accompanies them.

Navigating the Exercise Spectrum: Tailoring the Approach

The great thing about exercise is that it doesn't have to be exhaustive or daunting. I’m sure when you hear the word "exercise", you might think of lung-busting sprints, grueling boot camp classes, or lifting heavy weights that look like they belong to the Incredible Hulk. But the truth is, even moderate exercise, including walking or stretching, can yield tremendous benefits.

Just the other day, my son Anson asked me, "Dad, how much exercise is good for me?" I told him that every little bit counts, and the most important thing is to be consistent and enjoy it. The same applies to people with relapsing-remitting diseases. What's key here is pacing and listening to their bodies, as each individual’s tolerance and capability will be different.

Yorking Through the Challenges: Practical Tips

Now, we can't ignore the fact that there can be challenges in embarking on an exercise journey, especially for those living with a relapsing-remitting disease. For instance, symptoms such as fatigue, muscle weakness, balance problems or pain can make exercise feel like a Herculean task.

But here's the catch- overcoming these obstacles is, in fact, possible! The following practical tips should be handy in this quest- remember, start slow, be consistent, focus on gradual progress, consider working with a physical therapist and always listen to your body.

Harnessing the Power of Support: The Role of Community

Remember that you're not alone on this journey! A community of support can be invaluable. Seek out local exercise groups, join an online forum, or connect with health organizations. Virtual or physical, these communities provide a source of inspiration, shared experiences and practical tips.

I recall a day when I felt exceptionally drained out and didn’t want to go for my usual jog. But as Evelyn always says, "A little nudge from a friend is sometimes all you need!" and indeed, a text from my running buddy urging me to not skip the session worked wonders. Imagine having loads of such buddies cheering for you, offering support in your exercise journey. Sounds great, right?

Incorporate Variety: Shake Things Up!

Let's face it; repetition can get monotonous. Mix things up! Try different forms of exercise - yoga, pilates, tai chi, water aerobics or maybe dance classes. This variety will make exercise more enjoyable and keep you engaged. Remember: the best exercise is the one you enjoy doing - because that's the one you'll stick with.

Also, by integrating a variety of exercises, you are giving your body a wholesome workout and keeping things interesting. You wouldn’t eat the same dish every day, would you? So why do the same exercise routine daily?

Digging Deeper: Always Consult with Health Care Providers

The bottom line: Exercise is vital, but remember to consult with your healthcare provider before starting an exercise regimen. They can provide individualized guidance based on your overall health, specific condition, and fitness level, to ensure the regimen is safe and beneficial for you.

Just like with any alcohol or savoury treats, exercise is best consumed responsibly and in moderation. Creating a personalized and sustainable routine, under the supervision of a healthcare provider, is the most effective way to reap the many benefits of exercise while living with a relapsing-remitting disease.

While the connection between exercise and managing a relapsing-remitting disease is clear, it's essential to keep all these precautions in mind. Owning your workout routine is a powerful and empowering step in managing these diseases. Like any journey, there may be bumps along the way, but with the right foundational knowledge and support network, it can undoubtedly be navigated successfully.