The Modified Triathlon for People with Multiple Sclerosis
Teaching Points: People living with MS can participate in a triathlon with the right modifications. The modifications made for the “MS Modified Triathlon” in Minnesota on November 17, 2013 are outlined: Swim:The swim portion of the event was held at a local fitness center. The swim consisted of a 30 minute swim with continuous running time. Participants were able to rest as needed. Participants were able to use life preservers, floating devices, fins, kick boards or any other assistance needed to complete the event. The pool did not have a deep end which was an advantage for those with a fear of swimming/floating. These participants did a combination of swimming and pool walking. There were volunteers to help in the locker rooms both before and after the swim portion in order to assist with changing as well as save the participant’s energy for the actual event. Bike:The bike portion of the event was held at the clinic where the author treats patients. The bike consisted of a 30 minute bike with continuous running time. Participants were able to rest as needed. Stationary recumbent bikes were used. The bike event was done indoors. Upper extremity bikes (UBE) were also available for participants with extreme leg weakness or spasticity. Run/Walk:The run (modified to be run or walk) portion of the event was held at the clinic where the author treats patients. The run/walk consisted of a 30 minute walk/run with continuous running time. Participants were able to rest as need. The run/walk was done indoors on treadmills. Three of the treadmills had the ability to provide body weight support for participants with balance/LE concerns.
Summary: A modified triathlon is an innovative way to help people with MS stay motivated and active in a safe setting. A modified triathlon is also an effective way to support and empower people living with MS to stay healthy and active.