Participation in an aquatics program has the potential for reducing spasticity; maximizing muscle strength; and maintaining or increasing endurance, flexibility, and range of motion. It may prevent symptoms secondary to MS such as muscle atrophy, de-conditioning, and joint rigidity. Water is buoyant and cool; making it an excellent exercise medium for people with MS. Water-based exercises can be adapted to various levels of ability.
*At this time, the following facilities are working with the Inland Northwest chapter to provide aquatic programs to those with MS
Global Fitness, Spokane (North Side, valley)
Kootenai Health McGrane Aquatic Center, Coeur d’Alene, ID
Gritman Medical Center, Moscow, ID
Asotin County Aquatic Center, Clarkston, Washington
Wenatchee Valley YMCA, Wenatchee, WA
Central YMCA, Spokane, WA
North YMCA, Spokane, WA
Valley YMCA, Spokane Valley, WA
While there are many different types of Yoga, most Yoga practices very deliberately link physical movements, specific breathing patterns, and mental concentration, and may be beneficial in reducing stress and increasing muscle awareness and strength, range of motion, and flexibility. Some programs (such as Iyengar) aim at holding a single position or pose for a long time; others run positions together in sequences of movement (Flow and Ashtanga are examples).
Tai Chi is a form of Chinese martial art. Deep breathing, relaxation, and slow, gentle movements are the primary elements. Often referred to as a method of “moving meditation,” Tai Chi is a gentle conditioning regimen that is usually performed as an ordered set of slow motions that promote balance through thoughtful consideration of movement and heightening of body awareness. Tai Chi seeks to relieve stress, improve focus and muscle tone, and develop balance of the mind and the body.
Karate/ Aikido/Qgong/Kung Fu
The potential benefits of these martial arts are increased strength and improved balance, improved confidence in a threatening situation, and improved self-esteem and focus.
The Feldenkrais method (Awareness Through Movement) teaches people to learn to move with minimum effort and maximum efficiency. It’s a gentle way to increase mobility while reducing habitual and unnecessary stresses on the body. The resulting relaxation and awareness may be useful in addressing coordination, fatigue, flexibility, and spasticity.
Aerobics means any exercise vigorous enough to raise the pulse and respiration rate. Aerobic exercise can improve cardio-respiratory health and overall well-being. Walking, running, cycling, and swimming are examples of aerobic activities, as is exercise performed on a treadmill, stepper, stationary bicycle (standard cycles, upper-extremity cycles and recumbent cycles), cross-country ski machines, and other equipment. Many types of exercise equipment can be adapted to various levels of ability.
Hippotherapy (Therapeutic Horseback Riding)
Hippotherapy employs the rhythmic and dynamic movements of riding a horse. Benefits may include the improvement of balance, posture, coordination, endurance, and relaxation. It can be a fun and effective therapeutic alternative for people with multiple sclerosis. Licensed occupational or physical therapists with specialized hippotherapy training usually direct hippotherapy sessions.
The Pilates Method represents an approach to exercise that develops body awareness, improving and changing the body's postural and alignment habits and increasing flexibility and ease of movement. Pilates helps to increase and create a balance between strength and flexibility, create an awareness of and strengthen dynamic stability, improve coordination, release stress, and improve posture. With systematic practice of specific exercises coupled with focused breathing patterns, Pilates is practiced not only as a fitness endeavor itself, but also as an important adjunct to professional sports training and physical rehabilitation.
Using different modern and traditional dance and exercise techniques, creative dance programs can help the individual develop strength, flexibility and alignment; experience the joy of moving; and provide an expressive experience. It can offer a creative personal experience, social interaction, and skill development as well as improve fitness.
Sports such as bowling, basketball, baseball, volleyball, and others may be adapted for people who are wheelchair users or have other mobility impairments.
For more information regarding financial assistance to participate in recreation and wellness programs, please contact 509-482-2022 or 1-800-344-4867.