Along with physical therapy and occupational therapy, one of the most popular alternative therapies is regular exercise.
The challenge for health providers in recommending physical exercise lies in the wide range of disease manifestation and severity of LGMD2I. Some studies have shown that moderate exercise was beneficial for ambulatory LGMD2I individuals. However, it is not easy to understand how these results apply to other LGMD2I individuals such as partially wheelchair bound individuals, pre-symptomatic individuals, or even children.
Appropriate nutrition and alternative medicine are great complement to exercise.
Exercise must be adapted:
It is easy to imagine ambulant patients doing exercise to maintain tone and strength. However, people who lost ambulation can still do exercise and stretching that may help to maintain wellbeing. These activities are usually done with the assistance of a physical therapist/physiotherapist. The importance of a knowledgeable healthcare provider cannot be underestimated. For non-ambulant individuals, three types of exercise should be part of a daily routine.
- Lung volume recruitment exercises and chest physiotherapy to decrease the risk of respiratory complication.
- Passive or active assisted “Range Of Motion” exercises to keep joints loose and flexible.
- Stretching especially of the heel cords to prevent stiffening of the ankle joints.
Physical activities of all kinds including traditional exercise like swimming, running, biking, hiking can be beneficial to people with LGMD2I and other muscular dystrophies. However, it is essential that people practice these activities safely. Because LGMD muscles are vulnerable during exercise, people with LGMD2I must pay attention to the warning signs that indicate the safety limit has been crossed.
- For muscle damage
- Unusual cramping in muscles
- Pain in muscles
- Weakness of exercise muscles
- Dark urine after exercise
- Cardiac stress
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Unusually elevated heart rate during exercise
Other activities recommended for people with LGMD2I
A 2012 survey revealed that aquatherapy (and special diets) were most often recommended by healthcare providers to people with neuromuscular disease. Aquatherapy is beneficial because water provides just enough resistance to help patients get stronger in their hips, knees, back and shoulders. Land-based “Range Of Motion” exercises and stretching can also be done in a warm water pool.
Activity that may help to improve balance, coordination, head control and fine motor skills.
Together with Qigong, Tai chi has shown evidence of improving bone health, cardiopulmonary fitness and related biomarkers, and physical function as well as balance in people without LGMD. Some exercise may be applicable to people with LGMD2I and may provide benefits.
- Dynamic Physical Therapy: Benefits of Physical Therapy in a Pool
- ALS Worldwide: Range of Motion Exercises
- Muscular Dystrophy Association: Exercising with a Muscle Disease
- Muscular Dystrophy News Today: 3 Types of Exercises for Slow-Progressing Muscular Dystrophy
- Muscular Dystrophy Association: Riding High in the Saddle