Objective: To establish the effects of a 12-week, community-based group exercise intervention for people moderately affected with multiple sclerosis. Design: Randomized controlled pilot trial. Setting: Two community leisure centres. Participants: Thirty-two participants with multiple sclerosis randomized into intervention or control groups. Intervention: The intervention group received 12 weeks of twice weekly, 60-minute group exercise sessions, including mobility, balance and resistance exercises. The control group received usual care. Main outcome measures: An assessor blinded to group allocation assessed participants at baseline, after eight weeks and after 12 weeks. The primary outcome measure was 25-foot (7.6¿m) walk time, secondary outcomes assessed walking endurance, balance, physical function, leg strength, body mass index, activity levels, fatigue, anxiety and depression, quality of life and goal attainment. Results: The intervention made no statistically significant difference to the results of participants’ 25-foot walk time. However the intervention led to many improvements. In the intervention group levels of physical activity improved statistically between baseline and week 8 (P¿<¿0.001) and baseline and week 12 (P¿=¿0.005). Balance confidence results showed a significant difference between baseline and week 12 (P¿=¿0.013). Good effect sizes were found for dynamic balance (d¿=¿0.80), leg strength (d¿=¿1.33), activity levels (d¿=¿1.05) and perceived balance (d¿=¿0.94). Conclusion: The results of the study suggest that community-based group exercise classes are a feasible option for people moderately affected with multiple sclerosis, and offer benefits such as improved physical activity levels, balance and leg strength.
- multiple sclerosis
- exercise interventions