Reduce fatigue in multiple sclerosis
When it comes to signs of MS, a central nervous system disease, about 80 per cent of people experience fatigue, bladder control issues, balance difficulties and limb tingling. To control symptoms, consider picking up weights. Compared to a control group, patients who underwent progressive resistance training for six months experienced favourable brain changes that could deter the progression of the disease, reports a study in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal.
Patients who have MS experience faster-than-normal brain shrinkage, explain researchers in a press release. “Drugs can counter this development, but we saw a tendency that training further minimises brain shrinkage in patients already receiving medication. In addition, we saw that several smaller brain areas actually started to grow in response to training,” said Ulrik Dalgas, associate professor in the department of public health at Aarhus University in Denmark.
Reduce discomfort in low back pain
There are many reasons for back pain, and it’s really common. In fact, 80 per cent of people will feel the ache sometime in their lives. But rather than resting to get better, you should move. In a small study published in BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, low back pain sufferers who did three free-weight training sessions per week for 16 weeks experienced 72 and 76 per cent less pain and disability, respectively. They also reported an improved quality of life. The researchers note that staying inactive through back pain can lead to fear-avoidance behaviours, where you stiffen up in response to activity, thereby exacerbating the problem. Moving more, including lifting (and lifting heavy weights), helps you heal both physically and mentally.
We all suffer from back pain from time to time. We ask experts what triggers lower-back and hip pain.
Improve mobility in Parkinson’s
Patients who have Parkinson’s, a neurodegenerative movement disorder, experience a worsening of motor skills, resulting in tremors and impaired movements. They also may experience early, easy-to-miss symptoms such as a reduced sense of smell and trouble with depression. One 2017 Italian review set out to examine 13 trials that analysed the role strength training can play in the disease. The researchers concluded that it could help improve physical symptoms as well as quality of life, though they note more studies are needed to work out if strength training is the preferred activity over others. Until that’s known, the weight room can be your friend.