The Muscular Dystrophy Cycle
Cycling significantly improves fitness for those with MD.
New research dispels former concerns that exercise worsens myotonic dystrophy symptoms. People with muscular dystrophy who did 35 minutes of cycling three times per week had a 32% increase in fitness, according to a preliminary study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation (2022; doi:10.1172/JCI156125). Researchers recruited 11 subjects with myotonic dystrophy type 1, the second most common form of muscular dystrophy, to participate in the cycling program.
“Myotonic dystrophy is a progressive condition that will impair your mobility and can put you in a wheelchair,” said study author Mark Tarnopolsky, PhD, professor of Neuromuscular and Neurometabolic Disorders in the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster University in Canada. Formerly, doctors advised patients with MD not to exercise, thinking it may worsen the condition. This concern, however, was unfounded. “There is no cure for [myotonic dystrophy] and only regular exercise helps you achieve better function,” said Tarnopolsky.