Staying Active With NMOSD

Whatever your age or ability, there’s strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and happier life.

People who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing many long-term (chronic) conditions, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some cancers.

Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

To stay healthy or improve health, adults need to do 2 types of physical activity each week: aerobic and strength exercises.  For example:

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking every week and
  • strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

Why should we exercise?

  • Improves posture/balance (decreased falls risk)
  • Helps to maintain ability to preform everyday tasks with ease
  • Improves muscle strength and fitness
  • Prevents joint stiffness and discomfort
  • Maintains strong bones and healthy circulation
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight
  • Increases energy

Of course, as with every chronic condition, people with NMOSD may have barriers that prevent some types of exercise so it is important to find something that you are able to do but that also offers you a bit of a challenge.  Gradually build up the level of exercise as you improve.  You may have limited access to participation in exercise but don’t let it stop you! Swimming, walking, housework, gardening are just some of the exercises you could try and incorporate into daily life.

For more information, see our booklet on staying active.

Useful websites

Sportability, is a registered charity who provides sport and challenging pursuits for people with paralysis around the UK. People with conditions such as spinal cord injury, stroke, MS and others, are able to participate in a whole range of sports – scuba diving, sailing, archery, angling, abseiling, quad-biking, gliding, canoeing, clay pigeon shooting, go-karting, land-yachting, wheelchair tennis and many more.

The MS Trust have several resources to help you maintain fitness and cope with fatigue that are as equally important for you. Exercises for people with MS – the new version of exercises for people with MS is an expanded set of web pages with something for most people. Each exercise is clearly illustrated with an animation and can be downloaded to allow you to put together a personalised set of exercises to meet your own particular needs.

Staying Active these web pages contain a host of ideas for sports and activities to help you keep active. With everything from gardening to gymnastics, there is something to suit all

Spinal Cord Injuries http://www.spinalcord.org/resource-centre/askus/index.

Books and DVDs

Book: Physical activity for neurological conditions by Dr Helen Dawes. Published byOxfordBrookesUniversity (2010). A handbook to help people with neurological conditions to exercise more easily and safely. Includes advice on how to plan an exercise routine.

DVD: Leanne’s chair workout by Leanne Grose. Published by Ilc Media (2007). Exercises for people who use wheelchairs.

DVD: Single chair yoga-volume 1 by Lakshmi Voelker (2007).  Yoga for people who use wheelchairs. Available from http://www.getfitwhere/

DVD: Move it for MS aims to make exercise fun and engaging. It features Mr Motivator, whose infectious enthusiasm will get even reluctant exercisers joining in. The DVD is available directly from the MS Trust at a cost of £1.

Booklet: Sitting Comfortably a self-help guide to good posture in sitting. Available free from MS Trust.

MS Society booklet- Exercise and Physiotherapy explains the benefits from being physically fit, to stay as healthy as possible and help to improve some of your symptoms.

Your help

If you have any suggestions or ideas that have been helpful, please let us know as it may be useful to others wcft.nmo.advice@nhs.net