Physical activity and MS

Epub ahead of print
Sandroff  et al. Physical activity and multiple sclerosis: new insights regarding inactivity. Acta Neurol Scand. 2012 Jan 3. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.2011.01634.x.

OBJECTIVES: There is increasing recognition that physical activity has beneficial consequences among MS’ers, but there is concern regarding the current degree of physical inactivity in this population because of limitations with previous research and increased recognition of health behaviors in MS. This study compared physical activity levels between large samples of persons with mild MS and matched controls using validated measures of physical activity.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The sample included 77 MS’ers and 77 controls matched on age, height, weight, and gender. Physical activity was assessed using five measures, namely the Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire (GLTEQ), International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), and activity counts per day, step counts per day, and time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per day by accelerometry.

RESULTS: There were statistically significant differences between groups in accelerometer activity counts (t = -3.87, P = 0.0001), accelerometer step counts (t = -4.29, P = 0.0001), time spent in MVPA (t = -2.39, P = 0.01), GLTEQ scores (t = -3.83, P = 0.0001), and IPAQ scores (t = -3.42, P = 0.0001). The average effect size across all five measures was d = -0.59 and indicated that MS’ers overall were moderately less physically active than the matched controls.

CONCLUSIONS: The primary finding was a moderate reduction in physical activity among those with MS, but the magnitude was substantially smaller than reported in a published meta-analysis. Importantly, the degree of physical inactivity can likely be overcome through the delivery of behavioral interventions for increasing physical activity and this should translate into meaningful consequences for MS’ers.

“The results of this study speak for themselves. I agree that we need more interventions that encourage physical activity in MS’ers. We need to proactive rather than reactive.”

2 thoughts on “Physical activity and MS”

  1. I think if there was better access to physios and specialists who are able to put together exercise plans for people with MS then it would make it easier for MS'ers to try to be physically active. People with MS Therapy Centres nearby or active MS Society local branches that provide physios are lucky as they have the guidance and help. However, in my experience not everyone has access to such services!

  2. I agree with the above. Emphasis should be placed on keeping MS'ers, especially newly diagnosed who may still be relatively active, as mobile and physically active as possible.

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