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I'm doing ok on most of this programme - the diet, supplements, meditation etc.. but the one thing I'm really bad at is exercise and I can't work out how to get motivated to do it, what kind to do, or how to do it. I've never been a fit person - I used to smoke, eat a lot of rubbish and lead a mostly sedentary life (I've always been thin though - now I joke that the fat all went into my CNS instead!).

Now I do daily yoga and stretching, and go to a mindful yoga class once a week, but am aware I need to get my heart pumping a bit more than that - do I?

I borrowed a cross trainer from a friend and some mornings after meditating and yoga I can make myself do 5 minutes or so - I was up to 15 minutes daily a while ago but that's all gone by the wayside and I'm back down to 5 minutes a few times a week when I can be bothered. Which I think is pretty feeble.

I joined a little gym near us and tried swimming but found it gave me a bad neckache (I'm only any good at backstroke as my (lack of) technique means I just swallow the pool with any front strokes!) so stopped that. I like the idea of going running, but the reality just seems a million miles away from where I'm at at the moment and I've not made it out yet, as I'm just not in the habit of leaving the house without a big thick coat on, though we've got a lovely field with a river near our house. I used to love skating but would feel a bit weird going to the rink on my own, and I reckon that with my new MS-y legs the boots would feel really heavy and get my legs tired out in no time.

My mobility is pretty good - way better than a year ago when I was diagnosed - but I'm sure that exercise might be the key to my fatigue and will definitely help my prognosis. But then the fatigue stops me from starting. As does my laziness and all the excuses above.

Any tips or words of wisdom would be very gratefully received! I really need to do something so help!!


Jenny xx
Dx 03/02/14
OMS 14/07/14
Sounds like your on your way with exercise. If you've already joined a gym then you could see if they have any classes I you might find something you love doing,don't feel nervous everybody has to start somewhere and I've always found it fun to mix with other. Go for a brisk walk if you can ive always been big into exercise but I'm finding it hard at the moment as I can't do what I used to used to love running but really strugle with that now but I do love riding my bike and if gets me out in the fresh air. Good luck just keep going and trying new thing stay well. Del
Hi Jenny

I think the biggest motivation for you would be 'use it, or lose it'.

I was pretty active until a severe relapse in 2012 affected my mobility. I wasn't a gym bunny, but I walked everywhere. I used to prefer walking than jumping on a bus. Now, I struggle to make it as far as the bus stop, and am spending a lot of money on taxis, even for short journeys. I am so sick of this that at the end of last year I asked my GP to refer me back to physio, and the physiotherapist has now referred me onto a 12 week programme at the local gym, in the hope that I can improve my mobility, ditch my 2 crutches, and get back to being able to enjoy long country walks!

I totally understand your lack of motivation for the gym, but it is really important to keep active as you don't know when that may be taken from you. I don't know where in the world you are, but my local Coucil (Croydon, UK) run a scheme aimed at getting people fitter (which is what I have been referred on to). Could there be something similar in your area? I am sure that if you spoke to someone at your gym or swimming pool they would be able to help you, maybe help you improve your swimming technique, or develop an activity programme that helps you improve at a reasonable pace.

As with anything on the OMS programme, improving fitness is a slow process, but totally worth it! Before MS, I had flirted with a vague idea of doing the Coast to Coast walk (West to East Coast of the UK). Now I have decided that that is my ultimate aim, and I want to do it to raise funds for OMS. At the moment, as I slowly walk the 200 metres to the bus stop, this seems a world away, but it is keeping me focussed! That's the big goal, but firstly I'd love to be able to walk the short distance to my friend's house without having to pay for a taxi!

Give yourself some small goals to start with, but have a bigger goal (maybe running?) as something to focus on in the long term. Everyone has to start somewhere, regardless of how fit/unfit they are.

Good luck, and I will be here as your virtual gym buddy if you need one!

Why exercise. Exercise promotes the body into repair and repairing mylin. There was a post about this very recently. Exercise promotes the brain to grow cells.
Exercise is another tool in your tool kit of recovery.
For me everything that can be used to lead to recovery is not optional I have to try and do what I can.
Start slowly, I would do 4 minutes on that trainer 5 days a week, get in a routine I get up dressed and prepare breakfast I then exercise and after that eat my ready and waiting porridge. I exercise every day just on work days I do less.
If after a week that is going well increase to 4.5 minutes, again do that a week if going well to to 5 minutes.
Little increments to make steady slow sustained progress.
If what you did impacts on your day too much reduce the time a bit.
I write in a note pad daily what I did and for how long.
You are building stamina so you are not looking to burn out.
The trick is to make regular routine of exercising so it fits into the daily schedule.
Good luck.
I hear what you're saying, but I think it's like any part of the programme: If you want it badly enough, you'll do it, and if you don't do it, you don't want it badly enough.

You admit you're making excuses and are being lazy, and that's something that no one can do anything about except you. Only you can motivate yourself. Once you decide that you want it badly enough, you'll make sure nothing gets in your way, and you'll find ways to get your exercise no matter how dull, inconvenient, etc. You're lucky to still be able to exercise, so as a previous poster said, use it or lose it.

That's your choice. Find whatever it takes within yourself (mine is a vision of myself catheterised and bedridden, contrasted with being out for long rambles) to push yourself into action. If I were you, I'd be out for a brisk walk every other day in that lovely field . . . In no time it will be a habit.

Best wishes!
Thanks for the quick replies - am feeling a little defensive over some of the replies so will go contemplate as that's usually a sure sign I need to look at myself. Though feeling supported too and grateful for some good ideas - thanks: I think I will ask my GP for a referral to the fitness scheme as I've heard of it before. There are some weird processes going on for me in coming to terms with all this - the neuros told me I had a spastic gait, and when I asked for a referral to physio they were going to send me to a 'disability team'. The name freaked me out so I said I didn't want the referral and thought I'd do it myself - and have improved a lot. But I obviously need some help - though the gym I've joined is actually a small pool and a room with some machines in - no classes. I might join a different one and do some classes, though the idea is scary as I've joined various classes in the last few months and am getting used to not being able to keep up, and having to stop due to muscle spasms in my chest and weakness.

I guess I was feeling a bit down this morning about it all and maybe being quite hard on myself - I am much more active than I once was, but something's been playing on my mind since I did the HOLISM questionnaire a few days ago, when it asked about 'vigorous' exercise. I do walking, stretching and yoga every day, but when I saw the definition of 'vigorous' I realised that's been getting less and less (I also keep a daily diary of what I'm doing) and I've been getting a bit anxious about it.

I had it in my head when I first discovered OMS that I'd do a half marathon (we have one here in Oxford in October) and I just feel like that might have been a bit much to expect. But hearing about the coast to coast walk is quite inspiring and sounds more doable, as long as my bladder will hold up to it (we're off on holiday to Madeira next week so have bought a she-wee in anticipation of getting caught short on one of the walks I've been planning). So I might join you on that one day Rachel!

Thanks everyone for the replies - I will go think and work out a decent plan, and will remember how lucky I am to be able to exercise (yes, I also have the image of myself catheterised and needing hoisting around, TGWTBT, so will use that).
Dx 03/02/14
OMS 14/07/14
Hi Jenny

I am also quite defensive about being labelled as 'disabled', though I have come to terms with the fact that I am not able to do exactly what others do. This is why I think it might be beneficial to get a gym instructor to tailor-make a programme for you, rather than trying to keep up with people in a class. That might actually de-motivate you!

Don't beat yourself up too much about the 'vigorous' exercise. I had my first consultation on Friday with the gym team, and one of the first things I was asked was 'how many times a week do you do exercise that leaves you breathless?' (Hanging the washing out can do that, or 5 mins of dusting!!) I explained that I have mobility problems and just walking round work, or round the train station is all I can manage. They said that that was quite good, and any exercise is better than nothing. And you are doing things like yoga, so you are not doing nothing!

Hi :)

I also find it difficult to motivate myself to exercise regularly so you are not alone there! I go through periods of exercising daily and then it seems to trail off and I can't muster up the energy to do any for days/sometimes weeks. I have always been quite fit and slim but I find that my life as mum to a toddler seems to take it out of me sometimes!

I am trying very hard at tho mo to get back on the exercise wagon, fresh start for me this week! I've been doing an exercise DVD for 20mins one day and then the following day 20mins on the wii fit computer. I find that changing it up a bit keeps me a bit more interested.

Sending you strength and motivation! You can do it!

:) xx
DX 03/2008
Swank 04/2012
OMS 04/2013
Hi Jenny,

you could try to use a calendar: give yourself a big dot for every try. Or draw a curve. It will give you a good Feeling when you see it climb.
Can you think of a reward for four weeks' exercise?What will you be able to do, when your exercise Level improves?

I fell twice on my buttocks recently, so my hips ached so much that I couldn't do any exercise. yesterday I realized I couldn't breathe enough to sind (!). Exercise may do you more good than you think.

xx Joe
Hi Jenny

Maybe you should reconsider that offer of a referral to the "disability team". I know it might seem a bit confronting because they are called that, but most gym instructors are trained in developing exercise programs for people who have no real problems other than lack of fitness, and they are unlikely to have the higher level of expertise to be able to develop a program that will work for you. Also, many physios are generalists, but some do specialise in particular areas, and are better at tailoring a program to suit an individual's capacities and able to work around their shortcomings (you mention having chest spasms and weakness when you were doing the normal classes, and having problems in "keeping up" - which would be extremely de-motivating).

I managed to find a physio who has a particular interest in treating patients with MS, and I had a full assessment done (it was very depressing to find that my mobility and balance are those of the 70+ age group and I'm only in my mid-50s :shock: :cry: ). However, he has been able to work out a program which is within my capabilities, and while the "numbers" were depressing it has given me something measurable that I can aim at improving (the hardest part for me in trying to do the exercises is crippling fatigue, but unfortunately he can't fix that). Because of his knowledge of MS he also was very understanding and accepting when I said that I simply could not do some of the assessment exercises because at that time certain movements for me would trigger very painful foot and leg spasms. A physio I had seen previously was not so aware of how MS can cause such problems, and was somewhat dismissive that I knew from painful experience what these movements would do.

I suppose the point I'm trying to make is that if you have the option of accessing professionals who have a higher level of expertise and training than the stock standard gym instructors then you should take it. You have a much better chance of succeeding if you are working with people who understand both your capacities and your limitations.
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