Your heart really doesn't take MS as an "excuse." We need to elevate that heart rate and keep it there - 3 to 5 times per week for 20+ minutes per session.
So, how do we get enough CARDIO when it's difficult to move?
- WATER RUNNING: I've suggested it before, here it comes again. Strap on that flotation belt and get into deep water. Run in place, do high knees, different kinds of kicks, ROM motion (lifting one leg at a time to the surface, straddle splits). Just move however the legs will co-operate and build up to the point where you can sustain a hard workout. Be patient and give yourself a grace period of slow, incremental increases in length of time and intensity of workout.
- BOXING: Hitting a body bag or speed bag can be a great way to elevate the heart rate. It's an activity that can be done standing or sitting. If you have some balance, you can work on kicking movements, as well. Take it slow and resist the urge to overestimate your balance capacity. (Note to water lovers: you can use the running belt and "box" against the resistance of the pool water.)
- SWIMMING: Lap swimming, lap kicking (using a kick board), lap pulls (using a pull buoy) all can get that cardio rolling. Ask the lifeguard if you can use the kick boards and pull buoys - when I've explained my situation, all have been quick to help. When my core and lower back muscles fatigue to the point where I feel I can't swim anymore but I've yet to get a sustained cardio workout, I strap on my running belt to aid flotation and continue the workout. Cheating, maybe! But it gets me more time moving than if I did not rely on the prop.
- FITNESS CLASSES/DANCE CLASSES: Here modification is the key. If you can stand, try to do the movement to capacity - or sway instead of stepping. If a chair suits you better, shift your weight, use your upper body (big arm movements) and participate with joy! Music is fantastic inspiration!
Would love to hear your ideas for Cardio! Comment, if you please!