The only habitable planet in the solar system may be imploding under the pressures of COVID-19, but it’s population on the other hand is supposedly the fittest it has ever been. It would seem more of us now have time to lift a kg weight than to place the equivalent into our stomachs. One of my MS patients even went as so far as to say that they had reduced most of their symptomatic treatments since they didn’t need them anymore. That encounter left me thinking whether we were medicalizing our patients without meaning to?
In an online survey of MS patients related to their physical activity, on the otherhand demonstrates that not everyone has benefited; 31.7% reported that their level of fitness decreased during the COVID-19 period. This finding is made more significant by the fact that the majority of the respondents were ambulant. Although a further ‘38.3% reported that they continued or even performed more physical activity than usual during the COVID-19 epidemic and 68.3% reported that their level of fitness was maintained (or even improved) compared to the period before the epidemic‘.
It must be born in mind that many would have been self-isolating during the pandemic. But, we may need to going forward populate ideas on safe spaces with adequate social distancing, exercise strategies at home to achieve full cardio work outs and online feedback sessions on performance. Please place your suggestions in the comments.
Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2020 Oct 27;47:102603. doi: 10.1016/j.msard.2020.102603. Online ahead of print.
Physical activity behavior in people with multiple sclerosis during the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel: Results of an online survey
Multiple sclerosis (MS) itself and first-line disease modifying therapies do not increase the risk of contracting COVID-19. However, home isolation is likely to result in a significant decrease in participation in leisure time physical activities and an increase in sedentary behavior. Therefore, using an online cross-sectional survey we examined the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on physical activity (PA) behavior and fitness level in an Israeli cohort of people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS). The survey PA questionnaire included 10 questions. Specifically, participants reported on whether, and to what extent, the pandemic conditions had altered their PA behavior. One hundred and twenty PwMS filled out the online survey, 78 were females with a mean age of 43.0 (S.D.=12.9) years. PA behavior during the pandemic demonstrated that 17.5% who were engaged in PA before the COVID-19 pandemic, ceased PA, 33.3% reduced their PA, 20.0% continued their PA as before, 18.3% increased their PA during the pandemic, and 10.8% did not perform any PA in the past and did not so during the pandemic. As for the patient’s self-reported fitness level, 31.7% reported that their fitness level had decreased during the pandemic, 60.0% felt no change, and 8.3% reported an improvement. Our findings serve as a call of action for all professionals involved in MS management to address physical activity behavior in PwMS during the COVID-19 epidemic.