A banana holding a set of weights and exercising while sitting down

PPMS: Healthier Considerations to Live to the Fullest

Live to the fullest, how you ask? Yes, I realize having PPMS can make daily life a little challenging, as we know all too well. Let’s look at lifestyle changes that might help shape our future and possibly make our daily routines a little easier.

Lifestyle changes to consider when living with PPMS

Here are a few changes I have made living with PPMS:

Focus on nutrition

The first change I have adopted is eating nutritional foods. Eating a balanced diet has helped improve how I feel and help reduce my fatigue. I try to eat a good balance of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, grains, dried beans, lentils, and omega-3 fatty oils, including fish, flaxseed, soybeans. By adding these to my diet it helped to improve my digestive system, affected by MS.

Incorporate movement

Another lifestyle change I made was exercising and continually moving. I know what you are thinking, I did as well when my neurologist suggested exercise. My thought was, "WHAT are you crazy? I can’t walk straight!" The fact is he was correct.

Exercise is important for everyone and can help improve balance, increase flexibility, and strengthen muscle weakness. My exercise program includes weightlifting 3 days and riding a stationary bike 3 days a week. By staying active, I feel better physically and I notice the difference if I miss a few days.

Prioritize sleep

Sleeping well is key to controlling my fatigue and overall stress on my body. Areas that can cause poor sleep include anxiety, muscle spasticity, restless legs, and sleep apnea, among others. Please address these with your family doctor or neurologist.

Keep your mind active

Cognitive changes can be a big issue with MS. Keeping my brain active seems to help improve my cognitive abilities. Ways I keep my brain active include crossword puzzles, word games, memory games, and reading. Additionally, staying socially active with friends and family keeps me engaged and improves my thought process.

Consider your mental health

Depression seems to be common with MSers and should be addressed sooner than later. The above lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, getting proper sleep, plus joining MS support groups, can help. More importantly, seeing a doctor or therapist and addressing depression is important for our wellness.

Manage your activity and energy

Planning my day is key to reducing physical stress and ensuring I take care of myself. Make sure your plans are not pushing you too hard. Take time to rest when possible and use mobility aids when needed. Remember the spoon theory, healthy folks have 10 spoons for the day, MSers are given only 5 spoons!

Be aware of temperature

This one is simple for all of us. I avoid heat and extreme cold whenever possible. I stay cool by utilizing cooling devices, choosing the correct clothes, using fans, resting in cool areas, and avoiding hot showers. I stay warm by also choosing the correct clothes and setting thermostats properly.

Consider vitamins

I've also started taking vitamins - vitamin D and B12. 2000 mg of vitamin D is believed to reduce relapse and slow progression while B12 may help increase energy levels. It's also important to reduce unhealthy choices such as smoking and drinking alcohol which can increase stress on the body.1

A little fun and hopefully a laugh

I’m not sure about your experience and how your walking ability is these days. Mine is a little funny and as we say, I do the MS drunk walk. There are a few neighbors who know I have MS and always ask if I need any help with anything. For those who don’t know and see me walking or working in the yard, the expression is, 'dude, think you have had one too many!'

Funny we give folks that impression, however, I do think about a potential traffic stop. If I was asked to walk foot in front of foot, my response would be, "Take a breath test, hospital for a blood test, or hook me up!"

Thanks once again for taking time from your busy day to read my thoughts. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and questions. Keep in mind, you hold the key to life. I challenge you to turn that key, create a smile and pass on goodness and happiness to all.

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