Exercise
is Medicine

August NEWS LETTER

“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person's physical, emotional, and mental states.”
Carol Welch

Stroke and exercise:
A stroke is the consequence of blood supply to the brain being suddenly interrupted. The two main causes are:
1) An artery in the brain being blocked by a clot, stopping normal blood flow and the delivery of oxygen to the brain 2) Through a break in the wall of a blood vessel, leading to bleeding in the brain

This disruption in blood flow may lead to temporary or permanent damage to the brain. The range of symptoms after a stroke may include weakness, numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg on either side of the body (sometimes both), difficulty speaking, loss of vision in one or both eyes, difficulty swallowing or eating, loss of balance, fatigue and difficulty thinking and remembering. Symptoms sometimes resolve within 24 hours, known as a transient ischemic attach, but should not be ignored. Investigation of causes may prevent further complications. Sometimes impairment caused can last for several weeks, months or even years and some symptoms may be permanent. The degree of recovery and the speed of recovery varies between individuals and severity of damage.

Firstly, and most importantly, exercise can help prevent stroke. Once a person is affected by stroke, regular exercise and physical activity can help reduce the risk of future strokes and improve post-stroke recovery, as well as help manage symptoms of stroke. Reported benefits include:

  • Improved strength and endurance
  • Improved walking ability and ability to complete activities of daily living
  • Improved balance and coordination
  • Improved flexibility
  • Improved mood
  • Improved alertness and cognitive ability

What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease of the central nervous system (CNS: brain, spinal cord and optic nerves). In MS, the immune system mistakenly starts to attack nerve cells and the protective coating around the nerve cells that assist nerve conduction in the CNS. This leads to slow or interrupted transmission of nerve impulses, resulting in varied symptoms. The progress, severity and symptoms are unpredictable and vary from one individual to another.

Symptoms may include:
  • sensory changes such as pins and needles or numbness
  • muscle weakness
  • extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • sensitivity to heat
  • reduced balance and coordination
  • bladder and bowel disturbance
  • cognitive changes
  • visual problems

How does exercise help?

Regular exercise is important for maintaining general fitness. Specific exercise rehabilitation may help reduce the impact of some symptoms and help maintain optimum physical function. Reported benefits include reduced fatigue, improved endurance, improved balance and coordination, improved muscle strength, posture and flexibility, improved mood and sense of wellbeing and improved alertness and concentration.

People with MS who exercise regularly gain the same benefits as the general population in terms of reducing the risk of secondary complications caused by inactivity.

If any specific information is required, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for all Namibian practices’ details.

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