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Let’s get physical

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Exercise is important for everyone’s health, including those with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and cancer.

Jason Geroianni is a neuro-fitness specialist and executive director of Pressing On, which is a non-profit gym in San Antonio, Texas, that offers specialized exercise-based training program for those with paralysis due to spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, MS, stroke and other physical disabilities.

Geroianni said, “It always is important to stay active. We recommend that people with MS and cancer exercise or be active 30 to 60 minutes a day, five days a week.”

People who exercise regularly may notice several benefits including improved strength, possible diminished fatigue and depression, help with sleep problems and keeping mentally sharp.

However, MS patients need to be careful during exercise. Each session should start with a warm up and cool down including stretching.

Geroianni said, “MS patients may have balance issues, so work to increase strength in core muscles. Do crunches and work on your balance. These activities will help in your day-to-day life.”

Exercise and daily stretching can help lessen arm or leg spasticity. Pedaling in a bike motion is effective exercise. Some stationery, motorized bikes are available for people in wheelchairs. Swimming and water aerobics are popular. However, people with MS should exercise in a pool that is 89 degrees or cooler. When in a pool with a higher temperature, you may get too warm, overly tired and your symptoms may get worse.

People with MS are sensitive to heat, so try to stay cool. If exercising outdoors, get out early or late in the day.

“It is important to listen to your body. If you hurt or don’t feel well, cool down and stop exercising. The expression no pain no gain does not apply,” Geroianni said.

Pressing On is located in San Antonio, TX, and their website address is Their programs are customized for each client’s needs and are carried out by highly trained neuro-fitness specialists to help patients after physical therapy ends. Pressing On modifies its equipment for people in wheelchairs.

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