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Sessions with Dr Gretchen Hawley


Exercise - the difference between 'regular' and 'functional' exercise

In this information session, we will be discussing what 'functional exercise' is and how to use this type of exercise to improve mobility

Following on from our first presentation by Dr Gretchen Hawley on 'Neuroplasticity and changes with exercise', Dr Hawley will be discussing the difference between 'regular' and 'functional' exercise and how functional exercise can help improve function/mobility for people with multiple sclerosis.

Dr Hawley says "functional exercises are activity-based whereas 'regular' exercises are weakness based. The difference is that exercises that are weakness based will likely increase the strength of that muscle, but the renewed strength often does not result in improved function with daily activities and movements, like walking.

Functional exercises break down a specific activity that is challenging and strengthens the body in a specific way that will make that activity easier. For example, if someone has hip weakness which is making it difficult to walk, a 'regular' exercise may be a 'straight leg raise'.

However, a functional exercise requires the breakdown of that movement. Continuing with this example, walking requires knee bending, toe lifting, knee lifting, balance, and weight shifting. Therefore, these five movements should be the exercises that are performed to achieve improved walking.

Replacing 'regular exercise' with 'functional exercise' can make a world of a difference for those with multiple sclerosis. It’s often the difference between remaining at your current ability level and improving your mobility and energy!".


What to expect

  • What is “regular” exercise
  • What is “functional” exercise
  • How to exercise to improve mobility
  • How to exercise most effectively (how many reps/sets, etc.)


If you would like to know more about Dr Hawley please visit our Facebook page to see her blog or visit her website The MSing Link.

Please note we will be recording the presentation and you will make it available for you to watch it again.

The suggested donation is £5 for this information session, you can make a donation of your choosing from £1 to attend.


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