3 Types of Exercises for Slow-Progressing Muscular Dystrophy

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.

The Muscular Atrophy News forums are a place to connect with other patients, share tips and talk about the latest research. Check them out today!

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.

Here are some exercises and stretches adapted for muscular dystrophy patients.


  1. Shamalatha says:

    I have limb-girdle muscular dystrophy which deteriorated over 30 yrs now and am unable to stand from sitting position since 1t days.
    I am totally wheelchair bound now.
    Any particular physical therapy to help me to stand up with assistance, please?
    How long I should do mu physical therapy exercises in a da?
    Does it help me or harm me?

    • Deej says:

      I’m in a similar situation. I go for physical therapy but I don’t see much improvement. I think the secret is to do something/anything you like to do and pretend it is not exercise 🙂 Therefore, you won’t mind doing it and will most likely get benefit out of it. Hope this helps

    • Mary Episcopo says:

      My husband does as well, unfortunately there aren’t any studies that I’m aware of & he is worsening. If you find anything out please let me know

      • Martha B Archuleta says:

        University of Irvine Health Institute. They are very familiar with OPMD. I had my first consultation with them. University of New Mexico also has many studies on OPMD. They have a cluster of Hispanics from Northern New Mexico. I am originally from New Mexico and my father and paternal grandmother had OPMD. My oldest sibling also has OPMD. I didn’t realize that it can eventually affect muscles in the legs and walking. I am at that point right now.

  2. usha says:

    My friend’s son is 8 years is old.From 5 years his calf is bulky and now he started limping .Does Stretching,exercises, walking,running aggravates his symptoms?

    • Hawken Miller says:

      Englarged calves are a sign of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. If that’s the case, they should see a doctor. I have the disease and running/walking/going up stairs can significantly deteriorate muscles. Again, would be best to consult with your doctor.

  3. William Fleming says:

    I have myofibrillar myopathy. Diagnose 09 of 2017. Like to know the best exercise for this. Am progressively lossing leg strength.

  4. Mirella Campanaro says:

    i have centronuclear muscular dystrophy.
    I would like to connect with someone that has similar muscular dystrophy. Each year when i do a strength test i get weaker.Exercising tends to hurt my muscles even. I do some form of exercise . What is the best exercise to do for my condition. Is there any treatments.

  5. Kumar says:

    I am LGMD patient..but i can walk,drive,doing gym weightlifting..my upper body so strong compare to lower body(*qudricips muscle)..my calf muscle and hamstring muscles also strong..can i continue the gym for bodybuilding??

    • Nick says:

      I have Muscular dystrophy aswell in the middle of figuring out what kind I’m Mobile weight 142lb 35 years old. I was wondering if you were actually gaining muscle mass even thoe you say your not gaining strength anymore if I’m correct and are you maintaining strength? I’m often sore after a work out there not that extensive just wondering if I’m doing more harm then good I’d like to countinue working out to see just intrested in some feed back from someone with a similar condition

  6. thomsonp says:

    I have MD and it affects my upper limbs and it is to the point that I can not always turn my car keys in the ingnition. However, I still have strong legs. Should I just be doing exercises for my lower body? Can this prevent it form spreading or at least slow down the progression? Also, is this going to affect me cognitively? Are there any tests for this. My neuro recommended a memory test that ca be administered at the hospital.

  7. Laura Baca says:

    Hello. My son, mom, and myself have FSHD. my mom and I do light weights with very little weights or no weight at all to keep limber. My son hasn’t accepted the diagnosis yet and walks a lot. This type of exercise hurts, but feels better later in the evening. I do some bed exercises since I cannot lift my arms anymore. My mom has drag foot, so she is limited also.

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