I was diagnosed with MS two and a half years ago, a few months before my twenty seventh birthday.
I was very active before MS, playing a lot of football and running half marathons. After my diagnosis I gave up exercise altogether. I wanted to be able to do what I’d done before, but I couldn’t, and it was really hard to come to terms with that.
I lost a lot of weight while I was trying a special diet, which I’ve now stopped. Being inactive didn’t help. Looking in the mirror and seeing how skinny I had become gave me the motivation to start exercising again.
Working out at home
Getting active again was almost like starting from scratch. My MS nurse suggested I get a static exercise bike, so I bought a cheap one from a supermarket.
I feel more comfortable exercising at home as I’m less self-conscious, I know where everything is and I can relax and lie on the floor when I need to rest.
Along with the cycling I’ve been using kettle bells and doing push ups and pulls ups to help build up my strength. I also walk my dog, Logan, who acts as my personal motivator for getting out and about.
Dealing with heat
Starting to exercise again was difficult. After a brief period I got very hot, which often made my symptoms worse. I discovered that drinking something cold helped and I started having an ice lolly or a cold drink to help me recover after exercising.
What motivates me
Over time I’ve increased how long I can cycle for, and I recover quicker. Seeing progress and results are a huge motivator for me. When I’m exercising regularly I have less fatigue and I feel it helps maintain my muscle strength. I think exercise helps you feel good about yourself, which builds your confidence.
It can help to set yourself small goals and record them. Just do what you can do. With MS progress might be slow, but it’s still possible.