Tired of Being Tired? Tips, Tools, and Techniques to Keep You Going
Many people find fatigue to be one of the most complex and challenging of the symptoms they face with MS. It is often called an “invisible” symptom since it cannot be seen on its own. To make matters worse, friends, family, and associates may not understand the severity of MS fatigue and expect you to simply “push through it.”
Exercise and Fatigue
It may seem contrary to what you think, but exercise, if done properly, can actually improve fatigue rather than increase it. A study done with persons with MS who performed short bursts of moderate aerobic exercise (5 bouts of walking or cycling for 3 minutes each with a 2 minute break in between) demonstrated significantly less fatigue and had improved quality of life compared to individuals who did not exercise. The key to exercising without increasing your fatigue is to use the approach of intermittent exercise. A “work - rest- work” method, as well as being aware of your personal warning signs or “red flags” of fatigue, are keys to success with your exercise program.
Cooling is also an important strategy to minimize fatigue. Increasing your core temperature, whether it be from internal reasons (fever, exercising) or external sources (temperature of the environment), can cause an increase in any your MS symptoms, but especially fatigue. Strategies to keep cool like using a cooling vest, drinking an ice cold drink, wearing lightweight clothing and turning the thermostat down are approaches that could make your participation in activities not only possible but more enjoyable!
Fatigue Management for Daily Use
We are often faced with multiple projects, goals and needs in our daily life. Balancing all those needs and wants can be challenging even on our best days. The good news is that, in addition to exercise and cooling strategies, there are a number of other strategies that can be employed to reduce the debilitating effects of fatigue on your daily life. Employing a strategy entitled “The 4 P’s” - PACING, PLANNING, PRIORITIZATION, & POSITIONING - in a flexible and individualized way can be extremely effective to keep you going and maximize your energy.
Click here to get even more great tips on this topic by viewing our archived webinar: Tired of Being Tired? Tips, Tools, and Techniques to Keep You Going.