man thinking

Why mental exercise may help

Learn the importance of daily mental activity

Multiple sclerosis (MS) causes damage to your neurons, which are critical components of the nervous system. Over time, this damage has been shown to affect cognition, the ability to think and remember.

There are a number of things you can consider that may help. The first is to follow your doctor’s treatment instructions. Your doctor’s treatment plan typically should be designed to slow the progression of MS. To potentially help with cognitive issues, one option to consider is mental exercise. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have any questions or are experiencing any symptoms.

Mind Puzzles

In a recent study of people living with MS, participants had to:

  • Review a list of words and try to memorize them
  • Examine a series of simple math problems and say whether each one made a number that was smaller or larger than the last
  • Type the word list from the beginning, after all these math problems

The researchers found that this daily memory exercise—memorizing a word list and doing some math problems—helped improve some aspects of cognitive performance compared with people who did not perform this exercise.  

There are lots of other ways you can challenge your mind on a daily basis, including puzzles like Sudoku or crosswords. You could also read a book, engage in a conversation, or visit a museum.