Health Conditions Hub Multiple Sclerosis

Living With MS: Balancing Act

Reduce the risk of falls with these stretches

If you have MS, you’ve likely experienced muscle stiffness and balance problems. But you can manage these issues with a stretching routine. Perform these five stretch exercises regularly to help build and maintain balance and reduce the risk of falls. Talk to your doctor first, of course, to make sure these moves are safe for you.

Heel-and-Toe Raises. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your heels a few inches off the floor while you balance on your toes. Slowly lower your heels to the ground. Repeat heel raises 10 times. Then slowly raise your toes as you shift your weight onto your heels. Lower your toes to the ground. Repeat 10 times.
Calf Stretch. Stand with your feet together. Step back with right foot, keeping your right leg straight and your left leg bent at the knee. Place your hands on your left thigh and lean back on your right heel until you feel a stretch in your right calf. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.

Hamstring Stretch. Sit with your legs extended and your feet together. Reach forward and place both hands around your right ankle. If you can’t reach your ankle with your hands, try wrapping a towel around the bottom of your right foot. Slowly lift right leg up—with your hands or the towel—until you feel a stretch in your hamstring. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.

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Hip Flexor Stretch. Stand with your legs slightly less than shoulder-width apart. Step back with your right leg and slowly lower your right knee to the floor. Place your hands on the top of your left knee. Keep your back straight and slowly push your pelvis downward until you feel a stretch toward the front of your right hip. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds. Return to start and repeat on opposite side.

Blind One-Leg Stretch. Stand on one leg. (Perform this move facing the walls in the corner of a room so you can touch the walls if you need to.) Close your eyes, and try to balance on your leg for 20 to 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
Photo: Depositphotos

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