Move MS classes help people cope

Local News

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Nearly one million people are living with Multiple Sclerosis.

People in central Illinois are giving people living with MS a way to cope.

The Urbana Park District is partnering with University of Illinois experts to put on an exercise program, called “Move MS.” 

At first glance, it might just look like an average pilates class.

When you start talking with the students for a bit, though, you learn that all of them have Multiple Sclerosis.

According to UI Health, MS is a potentially disabling disease of the central nervous system that can cause nerve damage.

“I didn’t read up on it for a while, because I really didn’t want to, so the first thing I thought was oh, I have to stop exercising and that was completely wrong,” Stacy Kirkpatrick explained. “What I needed to do was to continue exercising.”

She believes her diagnosis could have been much worse if she hadn’t been active her entire life.

“What I truly believe is that exercise kind of changed my body’s belief system that it was not sick, and that I could continue to move and flow freely,” Kirpatrick said. “I just feel like I’ve experienced that in my own body, and I have to share that.”

She said she’s doing that by helping other people with this life-changing diagnosis.

“It was pretty hard, because I’m very independent and very go, go, go, and I now have to rely on other people and stuff and it’s been hard,” Dawn Moody, a pilates student, explained.

A pilates class like this gives everyone the opportunity to look on the bright side.

“Longterm, it can really prevent possibly prevent progression with the disease,” Kirkpatrick said.

Even if you can’t tell a difference right away, they said everything takes time.

“Get up everyday and just keep moving and just keep putting one foot in front of the other,” Kirkpatrick said. “Keep trying things. Do not get discouraged if you don’t succeed, because you will eventually.”

“Don’t wallow in self-pity, and try to be more confident and do things yourself anyway,” Moody said.

There’s an open house for “Move MS” Tuesday, April 23 at 6:00 p.m. at the Phillips Recreation Center in Urbana.

The group exercise classes provide MS-specific exercise instruction and exposure to different types of exercises.

Some exercises covered include:

  • Balance/stretching
  • Aerobics
  • Resistance training
  • Pilates
  • Yoga
  • Zumba

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