Should MG patients undertake an exercise program? Different sources provide different answers to this question. The very general answer is –exercise is helpful for people with MG, but patients should not embark on an exercise program that requires maximum output and produce weak- ness. Exercise should be done in a way thats stops short of muscle fatigue, and this will vary from person to person, depending on age, overall fitness level, MG symptoms and other factors.
From Caremark Health Resources: Physical and emotional stress can worsen MG. Exercise can help relieve stress, but it is important not to over exert yourself. People with MG often need to rest more frequently than other people, but a supervised program that includes aerobic exer- cise and moderate strength-training may be possible. Ask your doctor and a physical therapist experienced with MG patients to tailor an exercise program to your specific needs.
From Livingstrong.com: One of the frustrating components of myasthenia gravia is the tenden- cy of symptoms to come and go. Some days you may feel capable of exercising, while on others a simple walk to the mailbox may leave you extremely fatigued. For this reason only your doctor can advise you on how and when to exercise. Together, you can set up guidelines on how much exercise is healthy for you and under what circumstances you should attempt it.
If your doctor approves, the elliptical machine may be a good way to build an exercise regimen. First, look for non-skid foot panels. You won’t need to lift your feet off the panels to use the ellipti- cal, so there’s less danger of falling than there is with a treadmill. Many ellipticals offer two sets of grab bars – one set that moves and that is stationary. Be sure you use the stationary set for extra support.
There is even a current clinical trial to examine how active and fit 30 individuals are with chronic, generalized myasthenia. This study will also determine whether a three month home exercise program with aerobic, resistive and pulmonary training can improve physical activity, strength, fit- ness, lung function and reduce cardiovascular disease risk.
So, exercise is a good thing. Be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin any exercise program and ask for some guidelines. If he is vague about specifics, ask him if he can recommend a physical therapist who has worked with MG patients. Keep in mind that slow progress is fine and very worth- while.