3 Types of Exercises for Slow-Progressing Muscular Dystrophy

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by Wendy Henderson |

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There are different types of muscular dystrophy and the severity of the condition can vary greatly from one patient to another. There are many MD patients who cannot partake in physical exercise, but for others, engaging in an exercise routine can help improve muscle tone and increase overall fitness and health. However, you should always consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen and be sure to take caution, slowly easing yourself into a routine to ensure you don’t injure yourself or damage any muscles.

Here are three different types of exercise that patients with slowly progressing muscular dystrophy might consider taking up based on livestrong.com‘s suggestions.


Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise is any exercise which increases the heart rate. For those with muscular dystrophy, you should be able to exercise while holding a conversation, if you can’t talk because you’re too out of breath then you’re doing too much. The type of aerobic exercise will depend on your condition, but low-impact exercises such as fast walking, dancing, swimming, and cycling are all options.

Ideally, you should exercise 20 minutes a day between four and six times per week, but you might want to start by doing five or 10 minutes a day and building your fitness levels up slowly. Ensure you warm up gently before exercising and stretch your muscles well after to decrease the chance of injury.

Find out more about the different types of muscular dystrophy.

Strength Exercises

Strength exercises directly target the muscles using either hand-held weights, machines or using your own body weight. Because the muscles of someone with MD are already weak, it is recommended that they follow a light-weight, high repetition regimen rather than trying to lift heavy weights. Keep the weights somewhere between five and 10 pounds to start and when you feel comfortable gradually increase the weights. Strength exercises can be done on their own or alongside other types of exercise.

Find out more about the nine main types of muscular dystrophy here.



Exercises that incorporate stretching such as yoga, pilates and Tai Chi are great for improving muscle tone as well as helping with joint stiffness. If you don’t want to join a class then there are lots of online tutorials for stretching that can help your condition. You can pick the ones you feel most comfortable with, and then try to hold each stretch for between 10 and 30 seconds. It is important to warm up before beginning any stretching routine.

Find out more about muscular dystrophy with this animated explanation.

Muscular Dystrophy News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.a