Low-impact exercise, such as yoga, has been recommended for individuals with neuromuscular disease. While not specific to neuromuscular disease, the modifications and detailed instructions given in the exercise DVD Easy Yoga for Arthritis with Peggy Cappy: Yoga for the Rest of Us will make the yoga exercises demonstrated appropriate for many individuals with neuromuscular disease.
Users of this DVD can either complete the whole series of exercises (about ninety minutes), or use the menu to easily choose from the seven segments. Exercise segments include: gentle warm-ups; hand, wrist and arm warm-ups; standing poses; sun salutations; seated poses; reclining poses; and relaxation/meditation.
During the standing poses and sun salutations, two levels of modification were shown, including standing poses using a chair for support and balance, and poses seated in a chair. Modifications were shown during the sections for the reclining poses and relaxation/meditation, as well, including exercising seated on a chair or seated on the floor. These modifications would make most of the exercises appropriate for individuals with varying levels of disability, including those who cannot walk: most do, however, require the ability to sit unassisted in a chair, and mobility in the arms and legs.
I particularly enjoyed the exercises during the warm-segments for the smaller muscles of the hands, wrists, shoulders, and feet. While I have some experience with yoga, these exercises were new to me. As I have Charcot Marie Tooth (CMT), which particularly affects the hands and feet, these exercises will be beneficial for stretching and strengthening these muscles. These exercises were performed in a chair, and could be performed by those with mobility in the arms and legs, even if weakened.
Peggy Cappy explained each of these exercises so that they will be easy to follow, even for those new to yoga. Those more experienced in yoga may find the explanations to slow down the pace of the video.
Low-impact exercise, such as yoga, has been recommended for those with diseases of the peripheral nerve, such as CMT and Friedreichís ataxia. When properly adapted to a personís health and physical abilities, yoga can be appropriate for most people, and can have significant benefits including flexibility, toning muscles, and relaxation. Adaptation may require assistance from an exercise or physical therapy professional, however, and can include adaptation for those in wheelchairs.
Individuals with neuromuscular disease may experience irreversible muscle damage through inappropriate exercise with differing effects depending on disease type. Cardiac and/or respiratory muscles may be affected in some people with neuromuscular disease. Before beginning an exercise program or starting a new type of exercise, speak to a physician. Consider asking about the possibility of consultation with physical therapist or exercise specialist who knows about neuromuscular disease.
Other important general recommendations before beginning exercises or adding new exercises to your program for anyone with health issues include: start slowly and do not overdo it; include appropriate aerobic, toning and/or strengthening and stretching exercises; and do not exercise to the point of pain and/or fatigue.
With its modifications and detailed instructions, the exercise DVD Easy Yoga for Arthritis with Peggy Cappy: Yoga for the Rest of Us will make yoga exercises possible for many individuals with neuromuscular disease. After talking with your physician, why not give this DVD a try?
Labbe, A., (2007). From Asana to Pranayama. Quest 14:3. http://quest.mda.org/article/asana-pranayama . Retrieved 9/3/11.
Cappy, P., (2011). Easy Yoga for Arthritis DVD. Yoga for the Rest of Us website. http://www.yogafortherestofus.com/aboutvideo5.html . Retrieved 9/3/11.
Quest Staff, (2009). Warning: Read Me First! Quest 16:2. http://quest.mda.org/series/exercising-muscle-disease/warning-read-me-first . Retrieved 9/3/11.
Wahl, M., (2009). Effects of Exercise on Different Muscle Diseases. Quest 16:2. http://quest.mda.org/series/exercising-muscle-disease-series/effects-exercise-different-muscle-diseases . Retrieved 9/3/11.
WGBH Educational Foundation, (2010). Easy Yoga for Arthritis with Peggy Cappy: Yoga for the Rest of Us (DVD).
Disclosure: This video was borrowed by the reviewer from her local library at no cost.