Biogen Idec and Elan Corporation, plc today announced the launch of MS Active Wellness, a new resource available through MS ActiveSource, which provides tools to help people with multiple sclerosis (MS) achieve overall wellness by focusing on aspects of wellness beyond drug treatments, such as fitness, nutrition and socialization. The first element of this important initiative is the MS Active Wellness fitness program, which was developed by fitness expert Katrina Hodgson and leading neurologist Barry Hendin, M.D. , to help address many of the symptoms and specific needs of people with the disease, including mobility limitations, fatigue and heat sensitivity. The cornerstone of the fitness program, the Fitness with Katrina DVD, features real people with multiple sclerosis, from those who use wheelchairs to varsity college athletes. “The MS Active Wellness fitness program is designed to make fitness easily accessible and modifiable for people with multiple sclerosis,” said Katrina Hodgson, celebrity trainer and co-founder of Los Angeles-based fitness studio Tone It Up. “It can be hard to participate in an exercise program when you’re unsure of how to make it meet your specific, individual needs. My hope for this program is that it will help people break down barriers to exercise and impact their lives in a positive way.” Every week, about 200 people are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, making it one of the most common neurological disorders, affecting more than 400,000 people nationally. Multiple sclerosis affects each person differently but experts agree that most people with the disease can benefit from exercise. The Fitness with Katrina DVD, available at www.MSActiveWellness.com, features three workouts with varying levels of intensity; the Vitalize Workout is a full-body workout performed while sitting in a chair and offers a range of challenges and modifications, the Energize Workout features exercises to build core strength that can be performed with the assistance of a chair for support or with light weights for an added challenge, and the Maximize Workout is a more challenging routine that combines strength and resistance training in repeatable circuits. Participants in the three workouts modify the exercises to help create the appropriate level of intensity, and Katrina also offers tips for staying cool and provides participants with checkpoints to hydrate, record their heart rate and rest if needed. “Like most people with multiple sclerosis, I never know how I am going to feel on any given day and I appreciate how this program reminds me to listen to my body and modify the exercises based on what is right for me each day,” said MS patient and Fitness with Katrina DVD participant Jana Pence. “I’m always ready to do as much as I can and having the DVD motivates me to accomplish some level of fitness every day, even on the days that I’m not feeling my best.” There is a substantial and growing body of clinical evidence that supports exercise as a beneficial activity for most people with multiple sclerosis when complemented by an effective disease-modifying therapy. An exercise program that allows people to work at their own pace and modify exercises as needed, like the Fitness with Katrina DVD, can be helpful in alleviating many common multiple sclerosis symptoms such as fatigue, spasticity and pain, and can improve muscle strength, mood and quality of life. “We are fortunate to have many treatment options available to the MS community today that may help slow the progression of the disease; however, exercise can also provide an important benefit for people with MS,” said Dr. Barry Hendin, clinical professor of neurology at the University Of Arizona School Of Medicine. “Overexertion during physical activity can be counterproductive for people with MS and this program helps establish limits and reset possibilities. Katrina and I worked closely to make sure the fitness program addresses areas of concern specific to MS while providing tips for overcoming potential barriers, such as heat sensitivity, spasticity and balance issues, but as with any new exercise routine it’s important to speak with your doctor first before starting it.”
The Fitness with Katrina DVD is available to all people with multiple sclerosis for free at www.MSActiveWellness.com. Also available on the website is a downloadable progress tracker that people can use to record their heart rate and how they are feeling before, during and after a workout; short clips of each of the three workouts; and videos of each of the participants featured on the Fitness with Katrina DVD.Biogen Idec and Elan Corporation, plc are sponsors of the MS Active Wellness fitness program. Katrina Hodgson and Dr. Barry Hendin were contracted to help develop the MS Active Wellness fitness program by Biogen Idec. Jana Pence, a patient with multiple sclerosis, is a volunteer whose appearance on the Fitness with Katrina DVD was made possible by Biogen Idec and Elan. About Katrina Hodgson Katrina Hodgson is a certified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America, and a co-founder of Los Angeles-based exercise studio Tone It Up. She is also a group fitness instructor with the American Aerobic Association of America, and her training technique focuses on helping people achieve total overall wellness. Katrina has filmed more than 200 fitness videos, and her YouTube videos have been viewed by more than 14 million people. Katrina is a contributor to Women’s Health, has been featured by Glamour magazine as a favorite online fitness expert and has also appeared on CBSNews.com. Prior to developing the MS Active Wellness fitness program she co-designed and filmed a new DVD workout series with Jane Fonda. About Dr. Barry Hendin Barry A. Hendin, M.D., is a clinical professor of neurology at the University Of Arizona School Of Medicine and chief of the neurology service at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix, a position he has held since 1979. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for Banner Health Services. Dr. Hendin is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, where he has served as an examiner for the Board for more than 30 years, and is also a member of the Board of Directors for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Arizona chapter, where he was named “Health Professional of the Year,” 2007-2009.
About MS Active Wellness Fitness ProgramThe MS Active Wellness fitness program is an exercise program designed for people with multiple sclerosis to help address many of the symptoms of the disease, such as mobility limitations, fatigue and heat sensitivity. The program offers three workouts of varying degrees of difficulty, each with modifications to make them accessible to most people with MS.