The benefits of exercise for people with multiple sclerosis have been well-documented. There is evidence that in addition to supporting general health and well-being, a regular exercise program can be particularly helpful to MS patients and may work to ease common symptoms such as fatigue, strength and mobility issues. A 2016 study found that exercise may even help reduce lesions, relapses and slow the progression of the disease.
Yet many people with MS might find it difficult to begin or maintain a regular workout routine. It’s important that each individual chooses a program they enjoy and that will work with any limitations they may have. Pilates is a viable option for many, as it is gentle, low-impact and accommodating to those with balance issues.
A 2018 study, published in the International Journal of MS Care, concluded that Pilates can help with balance and mobility issues and have a positive effect on people with MS. For the control group that practiced Pilates, the study saw an improvement in walking ability as well as “alleviation of side-to-side strength imbalances and improved ability to recruit motor neurons, which is severely affected in persons with MS.”
The study noted the positive effects of activating the core muscles. As the deep core muscles are strengthened and stabilized, the body relieves tension while learning proper movement. The correct muscles begin supporting the body properly, which can help correct imbalance issues common in MS patients.
Pilates exercises can be adjusted to the needs and abilities of the individual, and many are done in sitting or reclining positions. On the reformer, the muscles needed for balance can be strengthened without fear of falling.
Additional benefits of Pilates for people with MS include:
Improved flexibility and mobility
Better posture and stability
Potential help with cognitive symptoms
Relieved stress and tension
Improved mood; aiding depression and anxiety
Improved quality of life
If you’d like to learn more about how you can benefit from Pilates, contact Corrine today for more information or to schedule a private session.