Research: exercise is good for you

Epub: Tarakci E et al. Group exercise training for balance, functional status, spasticity, fatigue and quality of life in multiple sclerosis: a randomized controlled trial. Clin Rehabil. 2013 Mar. 

Objective:To determine the effectiveness of group exercise training on balance, functional status, spasticity, fatigue and quality of life in patients with multiple sclerosis.

Design:A randomized single-blind controlled study.
Interventions:Exercise group completed a 12-week group exercise programme under the physical therapists’ supervision. Control group was included in the waiting list.Main measures:The primary outcome measures were the Berg Balance Scale, 10-metre walk test, 10-steps climbing test and secondary outcome measures were the Modified Ashworth Scale, Fatigue Severity Scale and Multiple Sclerosis International Quality of Life.

Results:Ninety-nine patients completed the study. There were statistically significant improvements for all outcome measures in the group exercise group (n = 51) (p < 0.01). In the control group (n = 48), there were statistically significant negative change in the Berg Balance Scale and 10-metre walk test measures (p = 0.002, p = 0.001) and statistically significant increment only in the Fatigue Severity Scale score (p = 0.002). The Berg Balance Scale score was increased 4.33 in the exercise group, while a decreased of 2.33 in control group. The 10-metre walk test duration (second) was decreased 2.72 in exercise group, while increased 1.44 in control group. In comparing inter-groups changes, both primary and secondary outcome mesures showed significant improvements in favour of the exercise group after the training (p < 0.05).

Conclusion:The study demonstrated that supervised group exercise training is effective in improving balance, functional status, spasticity, fatigue and quality of life in moderately affected people with multiple sclerosis, with no worsening of their clinical status.

Exercise is good for you and can help in MS especially when done in a group session.

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  • As someone who exercises on their own, I can't see why you've said 'especially in a group session' – what is the evidence that this is any better than solitary exercise? However it is heartening to think that MSers can do something tangible to help themselves, with proven benefits. Stands to reason, tho' eh?

  • The supervision can mean that someone is ensuring that you do it, and do it correctly but self-motivated people shouldn't need this

    As you say stands to reason

  • I've heard this kind of conclusion before but it doesn't recognise the specific benefits which my physios are always on about (excuse inaccuracies in my explanations, please!). In brief, I've been told that exercise is an essential part of managing MS because of the insidious way that disability creeps up. One of the commonest results of misuse/attempts to compensate for poorly functioning limbs is muscle stiffness. This builds up to become a disability in itself. Secondly, by building core strength you can compensate (not fully, but significantly) for lower limb weakness. Thirdly, 'patterning' i.e. sending messages to affected limbs to retain function in the brain cortex helps keep what function you have and encourages new neural pathways. That's why we need properly targeted exercise: it takes a physio to really pin down your deficits and get you on the best remediating activities.

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