|Exercise is the old chestnut! How do we crack it?|
Epub: Marck et al. Physical activity and associated levels of disability and quality of life in people with multiple sclerosis: a large international survey. BMC Neurol. 2014 Jul;14(1):143.
BACKGROUND: MS is a common neurodegenerative disease, which often has a devastating effect on physical and emotional wellbeing of MSers. Several studies have shown positive effects of physical activity (PA) on disability, health related quality of life (HRQOL), and other outcomes. However, many studies include only MSers with mild disability making it difficult to generalize findings to those with moderate or severe disability. This study investigated the associations between PA and HRQOL, relapse rate (RR), disability, and demographic variables in MSers with varying disability.
METHODS: Through online platforms this large international survey recruited 2232 MSers who completed items regarding PA, MS and other health characteristics.
RESULTS: MSers who were younger (p < .001), male (p = 0.006), and with lower body mass index (BMI) (p < .001) undertook more PA, which was associated with decreased disability (p < 0.001) and increased HRQOL measures (all p < 0.001). For the subsample of RRMSers, PA was associated with a decreased RR (p = 0.009). Regression analyses showed that increased PA predicted clinically significant improvements in HRQOL while controlling for level of disability, age and gender. More specifically, increasing from low to moderate and to high PA increased estimated mean physical health composite from 47.7 to 56.0 to 59.9 respectively (25.6% change), mental health composite from 60.6 to 67.0 to 68.8 (13.5% change), energy subscale from 35.9 to 44.5 to 49.8 (38.7% change), social function subscale from 57.8 to 66.1 to 68.4 (18.3% change), and overall QOL subscale from 58.5 to 64.5 to 67.7 (15.7% change).
CONCLUSIONS: For MSers, regardless of disability level, increased PA is related to better HRQOL in terms of energy, social functioning, mental and physical health. These are important findings that should be taken into consideration by clinicians treating MSers.