Welcome to Living Well with MS. In this episode, Geoff meets with Kathy Chester, a certified fitness trainer and podcaster with MS.  

,Keep reading for the key episode takeaways and Kathy’s bio. 

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Bio: 

Kathy Chester hosts the Move it or Lose it Podcast and leads Women Who Disrupt MS, a support group facilitated through the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation (MSF). She is the owner and lead trainer of Disrupt Fitness Gym. 

Fitness has always played a big role in her life. She became an aerobics and boot camp coach and went on to manage various studios. In 2015, she established Disrupt Fitness Gym: a program combining circuit and interval training to create the most efficient workout. 

Kathy was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis more than 20 years ago. Her MS symptoms began with numb hands and feet, migraines, and cognitive issues. The DMT’s and MS treatments she has tried include Avonex, steroids, chemotherapy, Tysabri, and now, Ocrevus. Taking these medications further confirmed her belief that movement and exercise is crucial for optimal health, strength, and mobility. 

Her expertise has allowed her to train people with MS all over the world. She developed a new program called DMAT (Disrupt Move and Transform). DMAT targets joints and muscles to slow down advancement of the disease. The program is based on a one-on-one or group session. Both standing and seated moves are demonstrated and trained in real-time. The results are increased strength and confidence in everyday movements which leads to more independence, and therefore, a better quality of life. 

Download the episode transcript

 

Selected Key Takeaways 

Understanding exercise to improve MS symptoms 
As the MS changed, and as I grew in my knowledge and more certifications, then I was able to understand what moves needed to be done to strengthen our bodies, our legs, the foot drop, keeping the MS hug away, and things like that. So I started working with the MS and the autoimmune world.

The benefits of live exercise classes – giving feedback
I also do it [exercise classes] via Zoom, where there could be seven to 10 people, and I'm showing seated moves and standing moves. I'm able to watch and say 'Hold on. Stop that. Let's do this instead.' So I can watch [and] ask, 'Is it cool enough where you are? Do you have water?' And I think that's a personal touch that I'm able to give.

Producing a podcast  
I wanted to do a podcast for a long time. The gym just took so much of me. I listened to several different podcasts for years and tried to get my [own] idea of what I wanted it to be. I decided I wanted to have guests on with autoimmune diseases, a lot of them have MS. And then to get something that is inspirational, something that they do, and then have a doctor come on and really talk about the issue.

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