You may be surprised to know that there are exercises out there for people with Myasthenia Gravis. After about 9 months I have been able to notice a dramatic difference in my strength, physical ability and body composition. Now, even on a ‘weak’ day, I am stronger than I have ever been.
Exercise for Myasthenia Gravis?
You may be surprised to know that there are exercises out there for people with Myasthenia Gravis. We can still exercise? But I’m weak. Yes, we can and it will actually help us. Although Myasthenia gravis patients experience various levels of weakness, myself included, there are still things we can do to strengthen ourselves.
No, were not running marathons (although anything is possible!) or lifting in the gym like those bodybuilders do, but we are still able to get our bodies moving and condition them to be better and to feel better. Maybe you want to loose a few pounds, increase your strength or just enhance your level of happiness. Regardless of your reason, engaging in an exercise routine will improve your overall health and enhance your quality of life. You’ll feel better, look better and live better.
What Exercises Can I Try?
Strength training should be a part of every exercise program. Building muscle not only enhances strength, it contributes to weight control because the more muscle you have, the more calories you can burn.
In addition, no exercise program would be complete without a stretching component to maintain flexibility. Most strength training programs cause your muscles to contract and flex. Stretching after you exercise will promote equal balance. As a general rule, stretch whenever you exercise. If you don’t exercise regularly, you might want to stretch at least three times a week to maintain flexibility.
Below are a few health benefits you can obtain for the mind, body and soul from simply adding both a strength and stretching routine into your life.
- Develop strong bones – Strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis
- Control your weight – As you gain muscle, your body will burn calories more efficiently. The more toned your muscles, the easier it is to control your weight
- Boost your stamina – As you get stronger, you won’t fatigue as easily. Building muscle also contributes to better balance
- Manage chronic conditions – Strength training can reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions
- Sharpen your focus – Some research suggests that regular strength training helps improve attention for older adults
- Increase flexibility
- Improve range of motion of your joints
- Boost circulation
- Promote better posture
- Relieve stress
Exercise Tips for MG
When I started to include exercise into my life after being diagnosed with Myasthenia gravis, I came across a few obstacles. Written from both research and personal experience, below are some important tips I have found helpful. Use this list to help you exercise with ease and peace of mind.
- Learn correct form – Set up time with a physical therapist or personal trainer experienced in working with the disabled.
- Have a chair handy – Practice seated exercises.
- Position yourself near your bed or soft ground – Better to be safe than sorry.
- Position yourself on the ground – You can’t fall if you’re already down.
- Do not exercise alone – Always have someone at home with you.
- Keep water near
- Know your limits – Avoid pushing yourself too far.
- Assess your current level of weakness before starting any type of routine
- Check with your doctor – Rule out any medical reasons why you should not undertake an exercise program.
My Experience: Exercise, MG and Me
Myasthenia Gravis for me has affected my legs and walking a great deal. Because they were my weakest points, I decided not to further fatigue them at first, at least not until I felt ready. I started strength training at home using 2 and 3 pound dumbbells. I started off sitting in a chair working on my arm routine. As my arm workouts got easier, I tried working on my legs and core, still from the comfort of my own home.
After about 9 months I have been able to notice a dramatic difference in my strength, physical ability and body composition. Now, even on a ‘weak’ day, I am stronger than I have ever been. I attribute this to my weekly exercise routine, my diet (the adapted clean eating plan and the Paleo diet), as well as my strong desire to be, feel, look and live vibrantly again.
I am now able to say, with extreme happiness, that I have moved from my at-home gym to my community gym. I have upped the weight I am able to use, I can walk about 1.5 miles in 20 min without resting and bike a steady 3 miles in under 25 min. When I started, I could’t even think about walking around the block. Now, I am able to go to the gym 2 days a week and take strolls with my love at sunset. This is such a huge success for me so I feel the need to share. Exercising, stretching and eating healthy has completely transformed my life with Myasthenia Gravis and I feel it could transform yours just the same.
Remember, exercise is so important to your health but take it slow, don’t push yourself and always check with your doctor to make sure they are on board as well. With these tips, I hope to have opened your eyes to new possibilities for your health and happiness. Myasthenia Gravis can be rough at times, I know this fully, but if you want your health and happiness as much as I did (and do!) then reclaim it one step at a time.