Lifestyle factors and living well with MS

We know a healthy lifestyle is an important tool to help people manage their MS. We are always learning more about how we live our lives can impact MS.

Evidence shows a number of different things that could contribute to your risk of getting MS or your ability to manage your symptoms.


The evidence is clearer than ever: smoking can make your MS worse. We've conducted an evidence review looking at research on smoking and MS. And we worked with Headstrong Thinking to hear from people with MS who smoke.

Physical activity

In recent years, clinical guidance has been to promote physical activity for people with MS. There are specific benefits to general health and wellbeing, as well as MS specific symptom management.

MS might mean people can’t exercise as much as others – on average, people with MS are said to have a ‘reduced tolerance for strenuous physical activity’. Many people notice their symptoms get worse if their body temperature rises with exercise. But for most people this tends to go away soon after finishing exercise.

The evidence in this review suggests that physical activity benefits people with MS. But there’s not enough evidence to give clear guidance for the type of activities, length or intensity that would be most beneficial for people with MS.