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Cognitive exercises for people with Multiple Sclerosis

Over time, Multiple Sclerosis can cause problems with the way you think and process things. Thinking and processing is known as cognition. Cognitive changes can be extremely frustrating. 

Here are some ideas to help keep your mind healthy and active.

Cognitive fatigue

MS can make you prone to cognitive fatigue. This is where your brain gets tired quickly when doing complicated mental tasks such as planning a trip.  

Try tackling difficult tasks in the morning, or whenever you feel at your best.  If you are struggling to concentrate, let your brain switch off by sitting quietly. Turn off any distractions, such as the television or your mobile phone. 

Getting enough sleep at night will also help to maximise your brain power during the day. 


MS can affect your memory, making it difficult to recall recent events. Try saying things out loud to yourself to help remember them. Repeat people’s names back to them when they are introduced. Write yourself reminders on a calendar, or on post-it notes.

Brain exercises

Exercising your brain is important to keep it active. 

Try doing puzzles in magazines or newspapers, such as the crossword, word search or sudoku. 

Learning a new skill is an excellent work out for the brain. Try learning a new language, or taking up a craft such as drawing or crochet.

Physical activity

Physical activity has been shown to have a really positive effect on brain function. Try to find an activity that you enjoy, and that you can manage. This will help keep your body and mind active. You could try swimming, walking, dancing, or joining an exercise class.


Depression and low mood can worsen any problems you are having with thinking and processing information. If you are struggling with your mood, please speak to your GP for support. Alternatively you can refer yourself to programmes such as Talkworks and the Hope programme.

If you would like more information about cognitive exercises, please speak to your physiotherapist or  MS specialist.