May is MS Awareness Month in Canada, a time to bring attention to the challenges of those living with the condition. According to Cummings Centre Wellness Supervisor Maria Fragapane, the importance of exercise cannot be understated when it comes to the management of Multiple Sclerosis symptoms. “A disease that is characterized by excessive fatigue and core and leg weakness, responds favourably to cardio/strength/balance and flexibility training, as well as proper nutrition and stress-management techniques,” notes Fragapane.

Marie Flanders has been participating at the Cummings Centre in exercise programs designed specifically for individuals with Multiple Sclerosis. The focus of the class is on improving fitness and function by incorporating cardiovascular training with core strengthening and overall body conditioning.

Flanders has been involved with the Cummings Centre for the past 15 years and is now glad to be back in person after being online due to the pandemic. “During COVID, I did a lot of online courses,” said Flanders who also participates in fine arts classes at the Centre. “It is wonderful to be back in person at the Centre. It makes me feel part of a community. The classes keep me strong and I feel better for doing them. Socially it is good as well. Participants are happy to see one another.”

For nearly two decades, the Cummings Centre had been providing MS exercise in its Adapted Exercise Program, working in collaboration with the MS Society of Canada. The recent isolation and restrictions brought on by Covid-19 has posed a challenge for those who are dependent on group fitness classes to manage their symptoms. Cummings rose to the challenge and created a host of online programs in addition to its in-person program offering designed to meet the needs of those living with MS and other conditions.

Through online platforms such as the Cummings Centre’s Virtual Learning Library, Zoom and social media sites, staff and volunteers have been able to create and upload all kinds of programs for the community-at-large to enjoy. Among the MS specific exercise topics covered are Power up Your Pelvis (for incontinence), From the Ground Up (re-awakens your feet) as well as core training, posture & balance, full body stretch and boxing interval.

In addition to in-person classes, the Centre has been running live Zoom classes:

  • Adapted Exercise for Functional Movement – To register, click here.
  • Adapted Chair Yoga – To register, click here.
  • Adapted Tai Chi – To register, click here.
  • Strength & Flexibility – To register, click here.
  • Power up your Pelvis – Fight Incontinence – To register, click here.
  • Multiple Sclerosis Exercise (In-person) – To register, click here.

IN PERSON / ONLINE CLASSES

APAPTED EXERCISE FOR FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT
Mon & Wed (ongoing) Apr 25 – Aug 10 | 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Do you have difficulty walking and maintaining your balance? Do you rely on a walker in your home or a wheelchair for longer distances? Then join Maria for this 30 minute functional movement class that focuses on slow and controlled weight-bearing and leg strengthening exercises. These are done seated and standing. Caregivers are encouraged to participate but not required.

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ADAPTED CHAIR YOGA
Mon (ongoing) Apr 25 – Aug 08 | 10:00 AM – 10:45 AM

Adapted Gentle Chair Yoga is an approach to yoga where each muscle group is mobilized individually, allowing each posture to be comfortable and relaxing while still promoting strengthening, stretching and balance. With this method any student can safely follow the program and experience the benefits.

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ADAPTED TAI CHI

Thu (ongoing) Apr 28 – Aug 11 | 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Tai Chi / Chi Kung (Qi Gong) Adapted is a medically proven methodology to develop strength, balance, agility, improved breathing, and mental acuity. This is a highly effective exercise program for those with such health conditions as osteoporosis, arthritis, back problems, high blood pressure and cardiac related issues. The process of unifying mental and physical energies guides us to the experience of self-healing.

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STRENGTH AND FLEXIBILITY

Tue (ongoing) Apr 26 – Aug 09 | 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

This beginner to intermediate class will focus on improving strength, mobility and flexibility through mindful movements. Intervals involve standing and seated exercises. Water bottles may be used as hand weights.

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POWER UP YOUR PELVIS: FIGHT INCONTINENCE

Wed (ongoing) Apr 27 – Jun 29 | 1:00 PM – 1:45 PM

The weakening of our pelvic floor can cause problems such as incontinence. Maria will help us to strengthen those muscles through exercises which can be easily incorporated into our daily lives.

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MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS EXERCISE (IN-PERSON)

Tues/ Thurs (ongoing) May 3 – Aug. 11 | 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM

The focus of this class is on improving fitness and function by incorporating cardiovascular training with core strengthening and overall body conditioning. * Remember to consult your physician prior to beginning any exercise plan and follow all safety recommendations. At any time, if you feel discomfort, pain, dizziness, or your heart is beating abnormally, stop exercising immediately and consult a health care professional if necessary.

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CUMMINGS WELLNESS VIDEOS (FREE)

EXERCISE FOR MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
with Maria Fragapane

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POWER UP YOUR PELVIS (INCONTINENCE)
with Maria Fragapane

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FROM THE GROUND UP (RE-AWAKENS YOUR FEET!)
with Maria Fragapane

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CORE TRAINING
with Annette Vezina

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POSTURE & BALANCE
with Annette Vezina and Maria Fragapane

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FULL BODY STRETCH
with Annette Vezina and Jay Blumenstein

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BOXING INTERVAL
with Maria Fragapane

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MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS SOCIETY RESOURCES

LIVE WEBINAR: BUILDING RESILIENCE FOR CAREGIVERS – MENTAL HEALTH AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

Thursday May 28 • 1 pm EST (1 hour)

REGISTER IN ADVANCE

LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU

MS Society of Canada Asks Federal Government to Support Vulnerable Populations during COVID-19 Pandemic.

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