Rotherham locals with MS get active with new pilot programme

Published Tuesday, 10th April 2018
Active for Health
The Active for Health Team.

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) have a new opportunity to get active as the MS Society teams up with Rotherham Council and Sheffield Hallam University to bring MS Active for Health to the borough.

The 12-week exercise programme is the latest pilot in the Council’s successful Active for Health research programme, which helps people with a range of health conditions become more physically active. The weekly sessions are delivered by level-4 exercise professionals and are tailored to each participant’s symptoms. The next set of classes will start in April and take place in community venues across Rotherham.

More than 100,000 people live with MS in the UK. It’s an unpredictable and challenging condition that can cause problems with how you walk, move, see, think and feel. While it affects people differently, everyone with MS can benefit from being active. Research shows that exercise can improve mood, mobility and muscle strength, and play key role in helping people manage challenging MS symptoms like fatigue, balance problems and muscle spasms. 

Sam Tolley, a 45-year-old grocery store manager from Rotherham, was one the first people to take part in the programme. She was diagnosed with relapsing MS in 2015 – two years after she first started having trouble walking, pain, and pins and needles. Since then, her walking has worsened and foot drop makes her fall regularly. She also struggles to eat because of weakness and pain in her hands.

Sam’s MS affects all aspects of her life, but she says getting involved in MS Active for Health has given her confidence and helped with her symptoms: “I am really enjoying the classes. They’re really invigorating. You really feel as if you have done something by the end and it is good fun. And the more I do the exercises, the more fluid my movements get.

“With MS, I’ve lost all my confidence, but this programme has pushed me. I really hope to carry on at the end of the 12 weeks if the exercises continue to help me achieve my goals and feel more confident about myself. It is a great atmosphere and a great initiative.”

Ruth Stockdale, regional external relations officer at the MS Society, said: “MS is an unpredictable condition that’s often painful and exhausting, which can make it difficult to take part in regular physical activity. But whether your symptoms are mild or severe, everyone with MS can benefit from getting active. We know that the first time or starting again after a break can be daunting, but we hope this new initiative will make is easier for some to take the first step to being more active.”

Rotherham Council’s Assistant Director of Public Health, Jo Abbot said: “MS is a condition which can leave those that have it with immense pain and suffering. That is why we wanted to team up with the MS Society to ensure those that have the condition here in Rotherham have access to treatments which could help ease their suffering. Being active is clearly one way of doing this, hence why this is now part of our Active for Health programme.

“And this comes on the back of the excellent news this week about the breakthrough in treatment for sufferers which of course we all really hope will help those with the condition to be able to live much more fulfilling and active lives.”

The next MS Active for Health session begins on 24 April 2018 at Dalton Parish Hall. To register your interest, please contact the Active for Health team.

Contact the Active For Health team: 017093 63355

Email the Active For Health team

Find more information about getting active with MS