How will exercise help my Neurological or Neuromuscular condition?
Often, neuromuscular diseases and conditions are incurable or have permanent effects on the body, however exercise has the ability to slow the progress of these diseases and improve the quality of life in people living with them. Among the other benefits, exercise:
- Maintains muscle mass and reduces muscle loss
- Improves movement and mobility
- Reduces the risk of developing co morbidities
- Improved cardio-respiratory function and mental well-being
- Maintains independence with daily activities
- Reduces falls risk and prevents injury
- Strengthens neuromuscular pathways that control movement
What type of exercise should I do?
Aerobic exercise is important for maintaining heart and lung health and reducing the risk of developing or managing co morbidities. Exercises such as walking and jogging can also maintain mobility and exercises such as swimming or cycling can help to maintain strength and control of the muscles without the need for weight-bearing. With all aerobic exercise, it is important to start at a low intensity and gradually build up over time.
Resistance and flexibility exercises are important for maintaining muscular strength and control, whilst reducing the stiffness and contracture often associated with some neurological and neuromuscular conditions. Your Accredited Exercise Physiologist will be able to design a daily stretching routine and can help you out with some passive stretches if you are finding it difficult to complete on your own.
Is there anything I should be wary of?
Fatigue plays a major part in Neurological and Neuromuscular conditions, and this fatigue can be constant or come in cycles. It is important to understand how much exercise your body can tolerate, so starting at a very low intensity and gradually increasing this load as your body adapts.
Greater recovery time may be required with neuromuscular conditions, as the muscles adaptation and response time to exercise can be delayed. For this reason, it is recommended that strength training sessions are not completed within 48 hours of each other.
Loss of balance is common in people with neurological or neuromuscular health conditions, so it is important to ensure you are exercising in a safe environment, and using any mobility aids that are necessary. An Accredited Exercise Physiologist will always ensure you are not placed at any risk of falling during your exercises.