Physical strength has always been important to me, whether raising kids or as an empty nester. For several years I was an avid walker and Bowflex user. I loved knowing that I could eat whatever I wanted, accomplish any indoor or outdoor project and wake up feeling healthy every day. 

For the first few years after my diagnosis of MS I managed to stay pretty active but it wasn’t long before physical disabilities took hold. It became more difficult for me to go to the basement to work out. There were days that I would literally crawl upstairs afterwards. I transitioned to a stationary bike and an exercise program specifically for MS. This worked for a while until fatigue and spasticity made even that impossible.

I have to admit that at this point I gave up. Other than some nightly stretching and operating my manual wheelchair, my exercising days were over. When I transitioned to a power chair my biggest fear was losing what little strength I had left. And that is exactly what happened.

So…fast forward to this year. For the most part, my MS symptoms have “quieted”.  The fatigue that I experienced early on only affects me occasionally and I made a decision on New Year’s Day that I want to gain some upper body strength back. Starting slowly with a two pound weight I began repetitions of arm movements. I am now able to do ten reps of each exercise! What a good feeling of accomplishment this small progress has given me!

My advice…start slow with small expectations and work up from there. Then when you look back to where you began, you might surprise yourself!