Exercise and fatigue

I spent this weekend at the Whitby Goth Weekend, something that hubby and I have been doing for several years. I expect to be tired at the end of the weekend because there’s a lot of walking around involved, some of it up hill. This time, though, I was physically and mentally shattered after just a few hours, even with a rollator to rest on. This is much quicker than on other occasions doing about the same amount - even more, sometimes.

I’m wondering how much of my tiredness is chicken-and-egg. After a weekend like this I have at least 2 or 3 lazy days to recover. After I’ve “recovered” the amount I can do is restricted. My neuro-physiotherapist has advised against weight-bearing exercise because of my foot slap problems, so my daily walks are no longer an option. I can’t do the distance now, anyway. I used to do 2 miles in about 50 minutes, 5 days per week, and actually felt better for it. Now it takes me more than an hour to walk 1.5 miles, the distance from our local hospital, and I’m shattered at the end of it. I certainly couldn’t do it every day. But how much of that is because I’ve got out of the habit of daily walks and how much is because my MS is affecting my strength and mobility? How could I find out without ruining what little health I have left? I’ve been thinking of buying a folding exercise bike because my neuro-physiotherapist says it would be good exercise for me and might help to strengthen my ankle, but I’m wondering how much use it would get if I tire so easily. Even the exercises in “Mr. Motivator’s Move It for MS” tire me out, and they’re designed for people with MS!

Is it possible to improve my stamina? Are there any gentle exercises I can do to improve my strength and flexibility? I’ve tried Tai Chi and at the moment I’m not even fit enough for that!

I think it is widely accepted these days that exercise can only help improve levels of fatigue. This is from the MS Trust- Fatigue | MS Trust “Fitness and exercise A lack of activity will increase fatigue. Muscles that are not used regularly become weakened and require more energy to do tasks. Some form of exercise as part of your daily routine is an essential element of a healthy lifestyle.” Build your own exercise routine | MS Trust Not at all sure why weight bearing is not suitable because of foot slap, but not going to argue with a physio. Perhaps a trike would be a solution if you have balance issues, or swimming.

I walk with crutches and can’t go that far anymore but I do find that I can usually manage to ride for a fair amount of time even on days when my legs don’t want me to walk far. I do find that I need help getting on and especially getting back off the exercise bike though

HI there, I’ve struggled with fatigue for many years, some days not even being able to get out of bed. My husband who does a lot of fitness instructing encouraged me to do some exercise just for 5 mins a day. Even that seemed impossible at the begining but I found that it really beneficial. 3 years on I am now able to swim 30 lengths, run 5k (albeit very slowly) and Cycle for 20 mins. It’s the one thing out of the many many changes I have made that has had such an amazing impact on my levels of fatigue. I would just urge anyone who is going to try to build up very slowly and gradually and listen to your body.

Listen to Mr Motivator on MS Fatigue; he is brilliant! YouTube

Get his FREE DVD from the MS Trust.


im in a similar situation to the first post, last year i did the couch to 5 km and felt so much better legs felt much lighter, i’ve reverted to the gym due to the weather and do bike, rowing, stepper and some weights 3 times a week, but my legs are really painful and i walk much slower than ever, i think if i did no exercise i think i’d be worse, is it worth speaking to doctor or m.s nurse or is it pointless