Fatigue is a common symptom of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Endurance training is the deliberate act of exercising to increase stamina. So why not use endurance training as a way to combat fatigue?
When I first started swimming to help manage my MS I needed to sleep for at least an hour after each workout. About a year later I noticed a change in my energy level. I no longer required naps, I was more alert, was up earlier each day, and went to bed later each night. I was able to add additional workouts to my weekly routine and although my muscles were sore, I was not tired.
Curious about my new found energy, and craving more of the feel-good sensation I was experiencing from training, I decided to train for and swim an endurance event.
Every year a group of volunteers organize the Thetis Lake HT0 Swim to raise money for MS. Youth are challenged with an 800m swim while adults can choose from one 1.5k, 3k and 5k swims. Wetsuits are permitted in all but the 5k swim. I choose to swim 1.5 kilometres.
My friend Jen, who swam most of her life, helped me train for the event. We swam 5 mornings and 2 nights each week at the local YMCA and 2 to 3 times a week at the lake for two months prior to the event.
The race went well. I managed a time of 26 minutes; fast for some, slow for others, but just right for me. My overall energy was up, my fitness continued to improve, and I was keen to try more. I liked the event so much that the following year I swam 3k in 52 minutes and the year following that 5k in 1 hour 30 minutes.
Endurance training has and continues to work well for me. If you are someone using a endurance training to battle your disease I encourage you to contact me so we can share your story with others.