Walk Everyday

Get Up, Go Outside, And Walk!

My Challenge For You

Get up, get outside, and go for a walk. Okay, maybe after you finish reading my blog post. But, I do want to challenge you to take 20-30 minutes (maybe it is during your lunch break) today or tomorrow to go for a walk. 

If you are reading this and you are unable to walk or limited to the amount you can walk, I would encourage you to get outside, and do arm exercises, or read a book, or garden, or find a way to get some fresh air. Do something different and try to be outside. Read this article from the standpoint of “get up and go outside”.

Why am I challenging you to go for a walk? Walking is one of the things that many healthy people take for granted. I, personally, didn’t realize how blessed I am to be able to easily walk long distances until recently. The one thing I did know about Multiple Sclerosis was that it can rob you of your ability to walk. Upon my diagnosis, I realized that my ease and ability to walk may not stick around the rest of my life.

Did you know that half of the people who are diagnosed with Relapsing-Remitting MS will need some form of walking assistance within 15 years of diagnosis? 

I am praying I am part of the 50 percent who will not need walking assistance in 15 years. I love to walk. For the past 4-5 years, I have been consistently walking every day. I don’t know if I have my dog to thank for that or my general practitioner who told me that I needed to start walking several years ago when I was feeling down in life. But, I walk a lot! I walk, rain, shine, or snow (yes, I did go for walks even during snowmageddon). In fact, there was one day, a couple of years ago before Luke was born, that I went on a walk during a windstorm. I thought that I was headed out early enough before the storm, but 10 minutes in I heard huge branches cracking and falling. It was terrifying…I don’t recommend walking during a windstorm and I will rest and stay inside next time. 

I am aware that with MS I have a possibility of losing my full ability to walk. If that day comes, I will adjust. For now, I will keep walking.

Benefits of Walking

There are so many health benefits to walking. Whether or not you have MS, I am a huge advocate for getting outside, getting some fresh air, and walking. 

I personally feel that walking has helped boost my mood and increased my energy levels. It offers me time to step away from my overwhelming to-do list and relax my brain and let it wander. I can use that time to pray, think about life, or take in the beauty of my surroundings. It is refreshing and vital to my mental health. Sometimes if I am feeling sluggish in the morning, the last thing I want to do is go for a walk, but afterward, I find more energy to keep moving and fulfill some of my other necessary tasks. It is actually quite amazing that something that takes energy somehow gives me more energy. 

Getting outside can boost your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. If you are in Seattle, like me, getting outside can be a challenge, but especially during these summer months go take your lunch break outside, eat dinner outside, and go for a walk. 

Walking Challenges Caused By MS

Unfortunately, many people with Multiple Sclerosis are faced with challenges that impact their ability to walk (also referred to as gait).

How does MS impact gait? 

  • Spasticity – tightening of muscles or muscle spasms
  • Balance – loss of balance or swaying
  • Sensory Deficit/Numbness – You can’t feel your feet so you don’t know where the ground is.
  • Foot Drop – You can’t pick up the front of your foot, so it drags.
  • Fatigue – When you experience fatigue you may not be able to concentrate on walking and experience more issues.
  • Weakness – MS can cause muscle weakness and this can cause changes in your stride causing pain.

All of these pose more challenges with walking and might increase the risk of falling. This often prevents people with MS from feeling comfortable walking in fear that they might hurt themselves. Some also notice that days that they walk more they have more fatigue, resulting in people with MS not wanting to get outside and walk. 

No surprise to me that studies show that physical activity can improve your MS symptoms. However, gait and fatigue can truly hinder someone from being able to have enough energy and ability to get that needed exercise. So the battle for someone with MS is to muster up enough energy and courage to exercise and hopefully find some sort of benefit from doing so.

Interestingly enough, a new study shows that those who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis may actually find it easier to walk if they are simultaneously listening to music. Go create your favorite playlist, and get up and get walking (easier said than done from someone who isn’t struggling, I know.) 

What Are You Waiting For?

You heard me, now that you finished reading my blog, get up, get outside, and start walking! Take advantage of your health now! 






2 responses to “Get Up, Go Outside, And Walk!”

  1. Debbie Avatar

    Rachel, you are so inspiring. I love reading your blog. You should be an ambassador for MS. Walk on Girl and I will try getting outside more❤️❤️

    1. Rachel Avatar

      Haha, thanks Debbie. Maybe someday. Yes, enjoy the fresh air and summertime weather (although the last week it has been a bit iffy here).