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Exercise guide for people suffering from Muscular Dystrophy

Children who suffer from muscular dystrophy experience severe weakness in their muscles. The contractures of the hip flexors generally interfere with ambulation. 

The earliest signs you may notice are that your child may be unable to walk or crawl properly and lack strength in their legs, spine, and head. They can not keep their head in one place; thus, they do not prefer sitting.

Gradually, muscle weakness increases, and children become wheelchair users by 12. The medical sciences have now advanced, thus, increasing the life expectancy of people with MD and DMD. One of the main factors that help such patients is exercise.

Besides medication, working out can help strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, and minimize the chances of obesity. 

Flexibility

People with MD and DMD must focus on increasing their flexibility with exercise. It is because a flexible body helps in joint movement and prevents contracture, thus, minimizing injuries. Healthcare experts suggest that duchenne muscular dystrophy patients must include regular stretching in their daily routine. It is also a part of the treatment plan. 

Some of the stretching exercises to follow include: 

  • Forearm Supination Stretch: to strengthen the muscle in your forearm and wrist
  • Gastrocnemius Stretch: to support the foot and calf muscles
  • Hamstring Stretch: builds up the muscles in the lower body
  • Neck Extensor: Reinforce the skull health

Likewise, several other stretches help build flexibility and strengthen joints. You can consult professionals to give a personalized schedule per the individual health t for the best results. 

Aerobics Exercise

Aerobics increases the heart rate; thus, every patient with DMD should include it in their routine. Although it may not be as effective for DMD patients due to various limitations, it has strengthened heart and lung functions. Ensure that a person suffering from DMD should be able to talk while doing aerobic exercises. If not, it means they are too out of breath; thus need to reduce their intensity. 

Each person will have a different schedule depending on their health condition and endurance. The basic aerobic exercise routine includes the following: 

  • Swimming: overall muscular development
  • Fast walking: to build up lower body muscles and strengthen the joints 
  • Dancing: easy and enjoyable way to increase body movement 
  • Cycling: Holistic development of muscles, joints, ligaments, and more. 

Ideally, it would help if you were doing 20 minutes of aerobics daily, but your healthcare professional may help you set up a worthy routine. For instance, they may suggest a low-intensity workout for 15 minutes twice daily. 

Muscular strength

MD is a medical problem that directly impacts the strength of muscles. Since it is a progressive disease, it keeps on hampering muscle growth. Therefore, it is crucial to mainly work on building muscle strength. It helps in improving posture, comfort, and independence. 

Some muscle-building exercises can be: 

  • Yoga: particular pranayama to target muscles strength, such as sun salutation
  • Resistance band: Practically works on weak ligaments and improves power in body parts 
  • Bodyweight: improves muscle as well as joint strength

Bottom line

There is not one but many exercises that target different body parts and boost their strength. You can witness what works best for you when you indulge in different workout styles, such as aerobic, weight training, stretching, and more. Some may enjoy swimming more than weight training, so professionals mold the swimming training schedule accordingly. 

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