Exercise for Myasthenia Gravis: a necessity not a luxury
Exercise: a necessity not a luxury.
If I saw this post a year ago, I would never have clicked on it. I was always tired and felt like a barely made it through the day. When people traditionally talk about exercise routines words like 'sweat' 'pushing the limits' 'weight loss' 'body building' jump to mind. While most chronic Warriors would love to engage in this type of exercise, it is unrealistic for the majority of us. A regular exercise routine has helped me to improve my health, therefore I wanted to share my insight with you.
Suffering from Myasthenia Gravis, exercise can sometimes be seen as contradictory. In short, the strain on our voluntary muscles makes them weaker. However, we still need our muscles to move and engage in life or we risk becoming complete couch potatoes. Therefore a guided balance is needed.
- Improving muscle strength without having detrimental effects on disease progression
- Decrease in pain
- Reduced chance of developing metabolic syndrome
- Decrease blood pressure
- Decrease need for hospitalisation
- Reducing muscle fatigue
- improved body image, mood, and well-being
- Increasing endurance
Before you start here are the 5 things you need to do:
- Get good advice
Firstly seek advice from your Doctor/ Specialist. They can also refer you to allied health professionals i.e. Physiotherapist or Biokineticist. The specific role of exercise prescription in the management of MG has not yet been established, therefore don’t just sign up with a professional trainer with no knowledge of MG.
It may not be running a marathon, It may be having enough strength to sit up through a whole meal. No goal is too small. Make sure it’s something you can reach, or you could become discouraged if it never happens.
- Pacing is Important!
Your muscles may need many small sessions over a long period of time to respond. If you push yourself to your limits, it is likely you will rather end up in a crisis state.
- Choose something you love to do.
If you hate the smell of the gym, like me, I can guarantee you'll only go once or twice. I love my dog agility. I love being out in nature with my dogs and wobbling around a course. It could even be having enough upper limb strength to put on your makeup! I have even recommended pushing a shopping trolly around a food market for one client who loved cooking and was trying to build endurance.
- Get support
Don't try to do this alone. Once you have worked out a program, join a team or have a buddy with you. This is both for your safety as well as to add external motivation.