MSA (multiple system atrophy)

Stay balanced while you get fit! 

Stay safe while you exercise... my MSA (Multiple System Atrophy) blog is full of tips to stay safe during everyday life, as well as ideas to make life for the "unbalanced" better. Regular, moderate physical activity increases your muscle strength and balance--therefore reducing falls.
I added two wheels to my walker, making it 4 wheels. Great for carpets, but dicey when you're going down a ramp or slope. I also have to ensure it's well-anchored for exercising.
I am now using a wheel chair, too. Especially for long distances.

The Exercise Ball

Fitness experts know the exercise ball is one of the best ways to strengthen and improve abs and strengthen the back while increasing balance and stability.

It is also a cost effective way to target your core muscles (eliminates the need for a gym).

Choosing A Ball

You will want to select a ball that is the right size and properly inflated. You choose a ball based on your height and legs. When sitting on the ball, your thighs should be parallel to the floor. As I am only 5'3", I use a 26" ball. It also fits through the wheels of my walker.

Bed Exercises

One good thing about lying flat on your back is your posture is great!


I do stretches and calisthenics for muscles in bed. 15 minutes per day before I get up. The ones from grade school gym. If it feels good, stretch it. Hold. Repeat.


For back: Lift bent leg to chest. Hold tight with arms. Repeat with other leg.


Leg Lifts        Knee bends

Kegels           Bridging


I flex and "HOLD" for 10 secs and repeat. For every exercise. Physiotherapist recommends I slow down and hold more. For more strength (ie. resistance)

With Ball

V-Pass: Lie face up on the floor with arms and feet extended, grasping a ball with both hands. In one fluid movement, use your entire core to lift your arms and legs off the ground, keeping legs and arms straight the entire time. Transfer the ball from your hands to your feet and allow yourself to lower back down to the floor. Repeat 3 sets of 12 reps. This move works your entire core.

Sit Down Exercises

To do while watching TV, on the toilet, in a chair...  No need for a ball.


Posture - Push shoulder blades back and together. Shoulders down.


Leg Extension - Extend one leg out straight, then lower and do the other one. Do 2 reps of 10. 


Ankle Circles - Rotate your ankle 5 times clockwise, then 5 times counter clockwise. Repeat with other ankle. Work up to 10 times.


Air-punching - with or without hand weights (if you don't have weights, use cans of food) is an easy cardio exercise.


Raise arms - reach for the sky. Those arms weigh 10 lbs! Also shoulder rotations.

I started exercising shoulders as reaching up to do keys was difficult. Now in a wheelchair for long distances, I am finding many new challenges.

Do Periodically

For sitting/posture pain: Hourly, take a walk (if able) and squeeze your butt muscles. This also helps your lower back.


Hourly, turn your head from side-to side, drop your chin to stretch your neck.


Stretch... arms, legs, waggle fingers

Pool Exercises

I find the pool is great. The water all around balances me and I don't need a walker/wheelchair. I can take my walker/wheelchair right in poolside.

I select a spot where I can touch the bottom and grab on to the edge. I also "walk" down pool length.

I find many exercises that I normally couldn't do both easy and possible.

Water Is Good For You

The human body is made up of between 55 and 75 percent water depending on size and composition, according to ShapeFit.