To help us understand how exercise can make a difference, we would like to introduce Adam Browne. Adam is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, specialising in Multiple Sclerosis rehabilitation and in strength conditioning. He has offered to share his knowledge and some practical tips via a series of articles to be shared here. For more information on Adam and to join him online, please visit:
Planning that holiday
TIP: Making sure you plan around your known MS symptoms is always important, thinking about things like climate, temperature and time of the year may be important if you find that you get fatigued quicker in different conditions (heat related fatigue).
TIP: Consider how long you are going away for or spending in different locations, do you need time to settle in, are you going to be on long flights or drives, waiting and queues can also play a role in how much you may be able to fit into a single day. Pacing and energy conservation are important to acknowledge in planning your daily activities.
Something else to thing about is how you are going to travel and get from place to place. This will influence how much exercise you may need to do to maintain your current program, if you have a lot of walking planned on your trip than you may not need to do as much cardiovascular exercise (walking, bike, swimming etc.) while you are away. If you have planned a relaxing get away with no real intention to do any planned walking or sightseeing then your cardiovascular exercise is the easiest routine to maintain. Check to see if your accommodation has a gym or pool that you can have access to, research or ask around for safe places to go for a walk (beach, walking paths etc.) or see some of the different local attractions within walking distance. A good Idea is to use a pedometer to keep track of your usual daily activity levels and how the highs and lows of this affects you. You can use your pedometer to keep track of your daily activity levels while you are away and this will help to guide you in regard to doing any extra activity as part of your exercise program.
Regarding your resistance exercises you may be doing and want to maintain while you are away this is a good opportunity to see your exercise physiologist or physiotherapist to develop a plan for while you are on holiday. This may involve an exercise program which does not require equipment or something you can do from the comfort of your own room. Check to see if there is a gym at your accommodation and have access to as this may be a good way to maintain your current program. In any event there is no reason that you should not be able to continue with your exercise routine day to day while you are away. This exercise program provided is only a basic strength program you can complete in your room, or a nice outdoor space where you are staying. The program is not for everyone and always remember to exercise with in your own limitations and capabilities and see your exercise physiologist or physiotherapist for an appropriate individual program for your needs and to allow you to enjoy your holiday.
- Plan your trip – travel time, location, climate, access
- Understand pacing and fatigue management (energy conservation)
- Have back up plans
- If you are doing a lot of walking daily then you may not need to do any extra (use a pedometer)
- Have an exercise program ready to go with you
- Enjoy your holiday
Dalgas, U., Stenager, E., et al. (2008). Multiple sclerosis and physical exercise: recommendations for the application of resistance-, endurance and combined training. Multiple Sclerosis, 14(1): 35-53. 3.