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Can exercise and a healthy diet help treat multiple sclerosis (MS)?

The physical activity guidelines for adults with MS apply to adults with mild to moderate disability resulting from MS and provide evidence­-based recommendations for both aerobic and strength exercises.

The guidelines recommend 30 or more minutes of aerobic exercise (arm cycling, leg cycling, walking or elliptical training) twice a week and strength training exercises for major muscle groups (weight machines, free weights) twice a week. The exercises should progress in intensity or strenuousness over time, and there should be one day of rest between aerobic and resistance exercise training.

Many people with multiple sclerosis report that exercises such as yoga, T’ai Chi, walking, swimming or water aerobics are helpful in managing pain. For those who have not exercised in a long time and/or who have physical impairments, a few visits with a physical therapist may be helpful in setting up a safe exercise program with a focus on pain relief.

As with any new treatment, approach your healthcare provider and discuss starting exercise as part of your overall multiple sclerosis (MS) management strategy.

Exercise and a healthy diet are critical to the management of multiple sclerosis (MS), since overall good health benefits brain health. In this video, neurologist Kulreet Chaudhary, MD, explains how exercise and a healthy diet benefits MS patients.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.