Olympic champion Sally Gunnell, fronts MS exercise DVD

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The MS Society has released an exercise DVD today for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) presented by former Olympic champion Sally Gunnell OBE; all exercises are also available via the charity’s You Tube channel.

15 August 2011

The exercise programme contains a range of simple, gentle exercises and stretches that can help people with varying levels of disability strengthen their muscles and feel fitter.

A warm up is followed by a range of exercises – including squats, pelvic tilts, lunges and shoulder rotations – all demonstrated by Sally and people living with MS. For most exercises there is an alternative option for people who have difficulties with mobility or balance or who are exercising in a seated position.

Multiple sclerosis is a condition of the central nervous system most commonly diagnosed in people in their 20s and 30s; symptoms include extreme fatigue, lack of balance and mobility, problems with speech, bladder control and eyesight.

Sally worked with the MS Society to develop the exercises and then trialled them with a group of people with MS – adapting each exercise to make it suitable. Individuals in the group completed the exercises three times a week over a six week period and then offered feedback to Sally before the DVD was made.

Jane Petty, UK Programme Lead for Physiotherapy at the MS Society, said: “People often feel frightened that exercise can make their MS symptoms worse – like making them more fatigued. What we’ve actually found is that people completing these exercises on a regular basis feel better. They can function better, their core stability is better and they really feel that it has made a difference to how they’re managing their condition.”

Sally Gunnell said: “I have enjoyed working with the MS Society to develop exercises that would be suitable for people or easily adapted, we didn’t want any barriers. It’s been great to see people have benefitted from the exercises after only a few months. I think a lot of people felt they’d be tired or struggle to cope – but actually, people have improved greatly.”

The DVD is now available to order for free from www.mssociety.org.uk/exerciseDVD. Clips from the DVD are also streamed on the charity’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/mssociety.

For support in dealing with the effects of MS call the MS Society’s freephone helpline on 0808 800 8000.

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