Passive/Active Exercise for Multiple Sclerosis

Regular exercise is essential for health, but for those with Multiple Sclerosis who can walk no more than a few steps at a time, or not at all, exercise can be difficult to obtain.

There is no right or wrong exercise. However, the nature of MS may mean that you have to be more aware of what you can achieve than someone who doesn't have MS. If you have concerns about undertaking certain activities, talk to a relevant health professional (eg a neurologist, GP, MS specialist nurse, physiotherapist, occupational therapist) beforehand.

With a THERA-trainer passive/active exerciser, the person can relax as the slow, predictable, orbital motion is provided entirely by the electric motor. Such exercise is known as passive exercise, and can be enjoyed even while watching TV. People find it psychologically satisfying, even soothing, to see their legs moving in a predictable manner. According to many users, there is often a reduction in limb pain and swelling (which is often caused by inactivity), warming of the feet and improved flexibility in muscles and tendons. Also reported are better bowel and bladder control and function, as well as improved ability to sleep.

Active exercise occurs in a muscle when nerve impulses cause individual muscle cells to contract against a load. This is the kind of exercise that improves the strength of muscle cells. For many people with disabilities, however, conventional exercise is not possible and this makes it very difficult to maintain the minimum strength level required to weight-bear or get out of a chair, for example.

Passive/active exercisers provide the link between no exercise and the level of exercise that could be obtained with an exercise bicycle. The THERA-trainers are designed to cover both passive exercise requirements and active exercise, if desired. The THERA-trainer alternates easily back and forth between active and passive mode. For instance, as the legs are being moved in the passive mode, an individual with some muscle power in one or both legs can use this ability to assist the motion, thereby slightly reducing the amount of power required by the motor. When tiredness sets in, the machine automatically falls into passive mode until the next attempt at active exercise.

To reinforce active exercise, biofeedback can be very useful. The THERA-trainers gives the user all this information on the screen during the exercise period. You will see on the visual display which leg is working harder, how fast and how far you have cycled and you can use this to show progress over the weeks and months.

The passive/active facility ensures that working muscles can be strengthened, while inoperative muscles are kept flexible. Thus any muscle strength that is available is not partially depleted in overcoming stiffness in inoperative muscles.

Passive/active exercise is ideally suited for daily home use for anyone with Multiple Sclerosis as a means to satisfy the body’s need for movement. The many benefits of exercise have been documented over time, and by using the THERA-trainer bike regularly at home the user will appreciate these benefits in their daily lives.

To read further feedback on the benefits of THERA-trainers please look at the download page on our website.