Healthy Lifestyle

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Exercise and diet: your new best friends

It's probably no surprise that eating right and making the time to exercise is important. This is true for everyone, not just people living with MS. But being smart, and understanding the connection between diet and exercise and your overall well-being, can have a positive impact on managing your MS.

Speak with your doctor about physical activities that match your abilities, interests, and limitations. Ask about things like walking, yoga, stretching, swimming, and weight training. Finding the right activities for you can:1

  • Reduce fatigue
  • Maintain and increase endurance
  • Improve flexibility in your limbs and joints
  • Strengthen your muscles and bones
  • Elevate your mood

There are a number of resources available to you, including the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation, where you can learn more about exercise and diet and sign up for healthy living programmes and materials.

What healthy eating means to you

Like most people, you can truly benefit from a healthy, balanced diet that is appropriate for your age and activity level. A healthier diet is important for your overall health and to provide you with the energy that you need to manage MS.1
Some general tips3:

  • Make sure you eat a mix of fruits, grains, vegetables, lean meat, and low-fat dairy products
  • Keep an eye on calories and fat content
  • Drink water–fluids help prevent things like - urinary tract infections and constipation
  • Increase your fibre intake–constipation is a common problem with MS, and an increase in fibre can help

Remember that MS can cause fatigue and depression, and can slow your mobility. Finding an exercise routine you can stay with - and a smart diet that keeps you healthy and energetic - are great ways to take charge and take control of your MS.2

In addition to a healthy diet and exercise, it is also important to keep up with your favorite hobbies and pastimes. Whether it is reading, writing, sewing, or working with models, staying engaged with the things that interest you is one of the most important things you can do. And just like exercise, doing your hobbies with other people can help keep you engaged, so keep a look out for groups or clubs that share your personal interests, and don't be afraid to join!1

1. Healthy Living with MS. National Multiple Sclerosis Society Web site. http://www.nationalmssociety.org/living-with-multiple-sclerosis/healthy-living/index.aspx. Accessed on 16 February 2011.
2. Symptoms. National Multiple Sclerosis Society Web site. http://www.nationalmssociety.org/about-multiple-sclerosis/what-we-know-about-ms/symptoms/index.aspx. Accessed on 16 February 2011.
3. National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Momentum magazine. Is there an MS diet? Fall 2008.