CNI NeuroHealth Center
Education & Information
Tips on Exercise for Individuals with Chronic Neurological Diseases
Making exercise a daily priority and habit provides people who have chronic neurological diseases with:
- A means to structure their day
- Benefits to overall health (stronger bones, weight management, heart health)
- Help in keeping a positive outlook on life
- Improved strength, balance and movement in daily life
A secondary benefit may be to lessen the effects of the disease process on your body.
Getting Started – Take the first step and GET MOVING!!!!!
Do things you enjoy, have fun and mix it up with a variety of activities. Take it slowly, and listen to what your body is telling you. Jumping right in can lead to injury or fatigue, which may discourage you from maintaining your exercise routine in the long term. Regardless of physical abilities or limitations, it is recommended that you seek the help of a Physical Therapist or Exercise Trainer with experience in neurological conditions to help you identify types and the amount of exercise that would be most beneficial to you.
- A well rounded exercise program should include the following:
- Mode - type of exercise and equipment used
b. Conditioning – aerobic
c. Strengthening – resistance
d. Balance & Coordination
- Amount of each exercise
a. Frequency - how often
b. Duration - how long for each exercise activity
c. Intensity - how much effort
- Change in your disease process does not mean you should stop your exercise routine but you may need to modify it. If you are unable to continue activities that you used to enjoy, talk to your doctor and go back to a physical therapist to identify new ways to stay active and ways to make your old favorite activities more accessible.
- Some other helpful exercise tips:
- Exercise when you are rested.
- Research shows that doing several short periods of exercise during the day is beneficial and may be a good strategy for you.
- Drink plenty of water before, during and after your exercise session.
- Wear good shoes that support your feet.
- Pain is not a part of an effective exercise program. If you experience pain seek evaluation and advice on appropriate modifications.
- "Pearls" for aerobic activity
a. Avoid using absolute amounts of work (i.e. mileage, speed, distance) to measure your exercise program because you will have good days and bad days. It is better to use exercise duration (time) as your measure.
b. Keep a record of your exercise and how your body responds. You should feel as well or better two hours following your exercise program as you did when you started. If you don't, you probably did too much. It is OK to back off the next time.
c. Be consistent with your exercise program. Try not to miss more than two days in a row.
Remember to have fun!