Whether you suffer from vertigo or feel unsteady on your feet because of poor coordination and/or muscle weakness, this can have a significant impact on your day-to-day life. Although exercising can help, we tend to feel nervous or apprehensive when our balance is poor.
Here is some great advice for those that are perhaps a little nervous to exercise due to MS balance symptoms.
Get medical advice
My first recommendation is always to talk to your health practitioner. MS can affect balance in different ways and it’s important to understand what’s happening but also what you should or shouldn’t do! Safety should always be our priority
Some practical tips
1. Practice against a wall, on a chair or on a mat. Sometimes, we want to show we’re strong and don’t need assistance – I used to be like that – but there’s nothing wrong with doing exercises on a chair or near a wall. It’s still very beneficial.
2. Avoid quick movements, especially of the head. When balance is an issue, it’s safer to choose slow, mindful practices. Focusing your attention on a point (the tip of your nose or a point on the floor) can also be very helpful.
3. Use the breath as an anchor. The more relaxed the breath, the more stable we feel. You can try for instance the Box Breathing exercise: inhale for a count of four, hold for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, hold for a count of four. Repeat for a few minutes. The point is to make the inhales, exhales and pauses of equal length.
Mind your feet and strengthen your core
Whether you choose to walk barefoot, get a foot massage or do some special yoga exercises for the feet, it’s a good way to improve your balance.
Working on your core – the muscle groups in your abdomen, back and hips – is also important. The core is the foundation that the rest of the body needs for strength and stability. The stronger it is, the better you can move without losing your balance.
I’ve recorded a video including my favourite routine to improve my balance. Most exercises are on a mat, except the last two. You don’t need any prop but if you have a theraband, you can get hold of it before we start.
Ready? Steady? Click!