How Pilates can help people with multiple sclerosis

How Pilates can help people with multiple sclerosis

Strength, balance and flexibility. These are three physical skills often affected by multiple sclerosis (MS), a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord. Pilates, when practiced a few times a week, can help improve these three skills, and it’s usually well tolerated by people who have this disease.

Symptoms of MS can include tingling, numbness, pain, spasms, weakness, vision issues and dizziness, so people who have it often can feel disconnected from their bodies. Repetitive exercises, such as Pilates, can be beneficial for people with MS and other neurological conditions. With its focus on core strengthening, Pilates can improve balance and posture. Its smooth, flowing movements and emphasis on connecting breath, mind and body can help open doors that people with MS believed were closed.

MS symptoms, which may be mild at first, can produce other complications. Walking difficulties, for example, can lead to hip pain, knee pain, back pain and more. Correct movement patterns in Pilates can help minimize unwanted inefficient movement and early fatigue.

Exercises designed to help can be effective when presented by a Pilates instructor who has studied movement as well as the physiology and biomechanics of the body. At Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital Health & Fitness Center, Pilates is presented in a safe and controlled atmosphere, facilitating the highest benefit in movement for clients.

At the fitness center, we use an apparatus to help with the focus on posture and movement. On the apparatus, springs and gravity help MS clients complete movements they normally would not be able to achieve. For example, to perform a roll-up, a client lies on her back with her arms over her head, and she rolls up to reach her toes. This can be a very challenging movement. With assistance from the springs, she can safely and effectively perform the roll-up.

Starting Pilates early in combination with exercise rehabilitation can be powerful for people with MS, but even those who are further along with the disease can benefit. It’s never too late to begin. The keys include understanding your body, practicing correct movement and experiencing deep breathing. Combining these practices can bring new light into their world.

Terri Wood is a Polestar Pilates instructor at Advocate Good Shepherd Health & Fitness Center who specializes in working with clients who have neurological health conditions. She is passionate about helping clients regain independence and restore function while tapping into their unknown potential.

Related Posts

Comments

About the Author

Author Gravatar
Terri Wood

Terri Wood is a Polestar Pilates instructor at Advocate Good Shepherd Health & Fitness Center who specializes in working with clients who have neurological health conditions. She is passionate about helping clients regain independence and restore function while tapping into their unknown potential.