Water Exercise

Compromised balance and elevated body temperature side effects are two foes MSers face. Additionally, gait abnormalities can make it difficult to use the basic act of walking as exercise. Aside from the obvious hurdle that it's hard to walk, the neurological challenges fatigue small muscles and challenge basic alignment of the kinetic chain that is necessary to walk with efficiency.

No leap here, but folks with MS tend to get less exercise than they need.

Enter the water running belt.  This foam device is worn snugly around the waist and allows the body to float vertically in the water.

AquaJogger Active Water Exercise Buoyancy Belt
This photo is just one of the many choices of brand and shape.  I've spent as little as $15 on a basic version at my local sporting goods store.

Don the belt before entering the water.  It's designed to be used in water deep enough to not have your feet touch the bottom.  Then you simply walk or run (or go through any number of range of motion activities) in the water.
  • no swimming - walk, jog, or run
  • no skill necessary
  • no balance needed
  • the water helps keep body temperature low
  • no impact from running/walking with a funky gait
You can choose your activity intensity by your current fitness level and your activity goals.  It can be a relaxing "walk in the park" or a serious run!  You are in control!

Warning:  water walking/jogging can become very boring!  Music helps some; company helps even more!

Intervals, long runs, pyramids...  They are all at your fingertips.  Your legs will enjoy the freedom; your heart will thank you; and you might even get a mood boost from the activity.

Good luck!


From:  Hal Higdon's Marathon Running

(And it's not just for runners!)

TIP OF THE DAY: Water running is a great alternative to real running, particularly if you are injured. A study at Florida State University followed runners working out on land and in a pool for six weeks. The wet runners fully maintained their fitness, as measured by VO2 max scores. A second study at the University of Toledo duplicated those results, according to scientist/author Pete Pfitzinger. I often train winters in a shallow pool running chest-high laps, or train summers in Lake Michigan. If injured, exercising in the deep end of a pool using a wet vest is the best exercise because of lessened impact.

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