The importance of exercise

FWIW, sometimes pain within reason is a good thing. It might mean your body is making progress. Like I said, within reason! Don’t overdo it. Like the old expression No pain no gain. FYI, I go to a gym 4times/week.

I can attest to this! I’ve been gyming for 35 years. Without any doubt, exercise helps me! I don’t use aids in walking at all and have had SCA for 34+ years. My brother doesnt work out and it is so obvious. I get dizzy and it helps 100%. I do cardio and weight train. It works wonders!

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:thinking: It’s actually some years, yes years, since I was able to enjoy proper exercise. Before being sofa bound after surgery for several months, I was still active in the garden, it was my main form of exercise, and I thoroughly enjoyed it :slightly_smiling_face:
But…enforced inactivity has taken its toll, my ataxia symptoms seemed to have worsened at a faster rate.
:slightly_smiling_face: Obviously people have different challenges, at different times, but I do think in my case, if I’d been able to continue my activity I might be in a different place now.

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I am sorry to hear that you had a period of enforced inactivity that may have caused your symptoms to worsen. I hope that you can resume gardening and perhaps some other light exercise and increase over time.

While I am lucky to be able to still exercise strenuously It may be that the main benefit is that strength increases stability and may not retard ataxic progression. This is the first year that I could not take a full hard swing at a golf ball without falling over so I doubt that I will be playing next year. I never was very fond of the game but it was the last one that I could play as my ataxia progressed so now it will be walking and lifting weights which I hope I will be able to continue.

Best regards,



I’m like you I guess. I’ve been an athlete all my life. Like you, I can’t play “ball” sports any more so golf has become dominant in my life. I can’t take a full follow through in my swing without losing my balance so I hit at the ball rather than through it. I don’t take a hard swing anymore but try to take a controlled slower swing. Because of my athletic abilities and timing, I still can hit with my partners. Does this work for you?

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Hi Chas,

I discovered last season that I could no longer take a full hard swing at the ball so I played the season adapting exactly to your current style of play. In addition to that I played at a local course this year with long coarse gravel paths which were difficult for me to navigate when walking using a push cart. This doubled my round time so I had to start riding a cart which I hate and which did nothing for my balance. My balance used to improve somewhat during the course of a round when I was walking. I am not sure I will play next season; I just don’t get the same level of satisfaction

All things considered last season may have been the last season of golf for me but never say never I’ll reassess when the season starts again. If I don’t play that leaves me to walk the local nature trails which thankfully are plenty and to lift weights at the “Y”. I am sure that the exercise helps if only to the extent that if one is strong it is easier to stay upright.

I am not happy with the situation but I have to consider that most people with Ataxia face bigger challenges than I do for which I am grateful. I am also lucky that so far my Ataxia is progressing very slowly. As my neurologist says “won’t kill you, won’t shorten your life span”.

I hope your new style of play will enable you to enjoy many more seasons of golf.



Thanks for the post. I’m very sorry to hear of your current situation. Whatever your decision is just know that we are here for you. :+1:

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Interesting!! Shopping cart/ rollators help walking by yourself!! Counterintuitive!

Hi Parna,

It certainly is counterintuitive. Unfortunately the apparent muscle memory so created is of short duration.

The more I use a rollator the better my short term balance becomes. It could simply be the increased confidence that can accompany practice -I can walk with a collator or other support and therefore I can walk without it-.


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:slightly_smiling_face: I actually look forward to using a grocery cart…it’s surprising what a difference holding onto something supportive and stable can be. I can relax, and feel safe to look around without the fear of falling, and my gait is much more natural, none of the jerkiness I experience when just using my walking stick. I also have a rollator.

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Hi Beryl,

Your frequent and informative posts are always appreciated.

After using a rollator I am more stable but it doesn’t last. I always wonder why if I can walk with a rollator I should be able to walk without it -I don’t need it for support just guidance-. Unfortunately any gains I make from using the rollator are transitory but t may be that it has gives me temporary confidence or muscle memory and hence an unconscious improvement in balance.

It’s odd how the mind or the senses play tricks however; I can walk down the corridors of a building with a cane or no assistance but I usually find it uncomfortable walking over wide areas with no visual clues even with the use of a rollator. A long pedestrian crossing can be difficult if it is unmarked but if it has parallel lines running from side to side of the road I have no problem. The same is true of navigating wide open areas. It is not a question of having something close to break a fall because I can walk down a wide road using a rollator without feeling uncomfortable providing there are trees and houses or other visual clues on each side.

I don’t mean to imply that balance issues are in the head, far from it. I have gotten myself into trouble many times taking risks that I shouldn’t have due to overconfidence and I now try to be more prudent. I did walk up a steep hill today with my rollator -usually this is a no go- and managed to do so without difficulty. There was no one around to assist me should I have gotten in trouble so what I did was probably rather foolish.

With my late onset of idiopathic Ataxia I am just grateful that I can get around.

Keep on truckin’.


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:thinking: I have problems with spatial awareness and perception of depth, and experience similar myself. I can walk comfortably around the house, through the laundry room and into the garden…but once out the door :see_no_evil: I immediately feel disorientated, my senses are overwhelmed and I have difficulty processing and multitasking…

You explained it nicely and it seems logical, thanks.

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