What Are My Exercise Options?

Exercise is an important part of the OMS program. If you can do it without difficulty, we recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise 3-5 days a week

Exercise is an important part of the OMS program. If you can do it without difficulty, we recommend at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise three to five days a week – outdoors when possible, to maximize your vitamin D production. If that’s too much, don’t be discouraged. Even walking is an excellent way to exercise.

Start slow, and work your way up. Local gyms may offer programs to help you gradually increase your efforts. Many MS societies organize supervised exercise through their physical or occupational therapists. The benefits of endurance training (like running) include:

  • Improved muscle strength, walking speed, fatigue, quality of life
  • Improved chair transfer, gait, stair-climbing, and timed up-and-go test
  • Marked improvements in aerobic capacity and fatigue (in some people)
  • Variable results on vitality, social functioning, mood, energy, anger, sexual function, bladder and bowel function, and depression

The benefits of progressive resistance exercise (like weights) include:

  • Improved walking speed, stepping endurance, stair-climbing, timed up-and-go test, self-reported disability, and self-reported fatigue
  • Significant improvements in gait disturbances
  • Improved 10-meter walking test, duration of exercise, and timed up-and-go test
  • Reduced balance, fatigue, depression, and fear of falling

Your condition will help determine how you exercise. If your symptoms are minimal, options are broad and include:

  • Running
  • Speed-walking
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Aerobics

If your condition restricts you to lower-impact exercise, try:

  • Walking
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Pilates
  • Aquarobics
  • Whole Body Vibration machines (aka vibroplate, Power Plate)

And if you cannot perform traditional exercises, try:

  • Electric bikes (they help with balance and fatigue)
  • Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (FES) cycling exercise

Image by Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock


1. Neuromuscular electrical stimulation cycling exercise for persons with advanced multiple sclerosis. J Rehabil Med. 2014 Jun 25;46(7):698-702. doi: 10.2340/16501977-1792