Barts-MS rose-tinted-odometer: ★★★★★ (Sunday or Summer orange #f99f00)
Exercise has emerged as a safe, effective, low-cost, non-pharmacological intervention for managing disability experienced by pwMS. Despite the evidence, it is the most under-prescribed and under-utilised disease-modifying therapy we have at our disposal.
Exercise promotes improvements in aerobic capacity, muscular strength, balance, walking performance, and gait kinematics, whilst it also reduces fatigue, depression and anxiety.
The meta-analysis below asks whether exercise training increases participation in everyday life, such as carrying out daily tasks and self-care, walking and movement, interpersonal relationships, and recreation and leisure. Are you surprised that the answer is YES?
EXERCISE INCREASES PARTICIPATION!
So for those of you who are letting ‘MS exile you from the everyday of life’ I would advise trying exercise to help you re-engage with the everyday.
Do any of you have any personal anecdotes that you can share with us about how exercise has changed your life?
Edwards et al. Exercise training improves participation in persons with multiple sclerosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Review J Sport Health Sci. 2021 Jul 26;S2095-2546(21)00089-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jshs.2021.07.007.
Objectives: While previous studies have examined the effects of exercise training on other International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) component levels in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS), the effects of exercise training on participation remains unclear. The objectives of this review were to: (1) systematically characterize the use of outcome measures that capture participation in exercise training studies; (2) quantify the effect of exercise training on participation in persons with MS.
Methods: A search of 6 electronic databases (CINAHL, Sport Discuss, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Cochrane Central, Scopus) was conducted to identify controlled and non-controlled trials involving exercise training and participation in persons with MS. Search strings were built from Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) and “CINAHL headings”. ICF linking rules were used to identify participation chapters and categories captured. Meta-analysis was used to quantify the effect of exercise training on participation in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing exercise effects to no intervention/usual care.
Results: Forty-nine articles involving controlled and non-controlled exercise trials were included in the systematic review of outcome measures. Sixteen different outcome measures that captured all 9 participation chapters and 89 unique participation categories were identified. Across these 16 outcome measures, “mobility” was the most represented participation chapter, with 108 items. A subsample of 23 RCTs were included in the meta-analysis. An overall effect of 0.60 (standard error = 0.12, 95% confidence interval: 0.37-0.84, z = 4.9, p < 0.001) was calculated, indicating a moderate, positive effect of exercise training on participation.
Conclusion: The current review provides information that can be used to guide the selection of outcome measures that capture participation in studies of exercise training in persons with MS. Exercise training has a positive effect on outcomes that capture participation, providing further evidence for the role of exercise training in promoting and maintaining engagement in everyday life.
Keywords: ICF framework; exercise training; multiple sclerosis; participation.
General Disclaimer: Please note that the opinions expressed here are those of Professor Giovannoni and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry nor Barts Health NHS Trust and are not meant to be interpreted as personal clinical advice.