Can Aerobic Exercise Training Affect Health-Related Quality of Life for People with Multiple Sclerosis?

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
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Individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) are often advised not to participate in vigorous exercise. Leading a relatively sedentary life, however, may exacerbate the debilitating effects of MS. In this study, 22 people participated in either a no-special-activity group (n = 11) or an experimental group (n = 11) that involved water aerobics three times a week for 10 weeks. Measures taken included scales for health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and psychological well-being. ANCOVAs using social support and the appropriate pretest scores as covariates revealed that after the intervention, the exercise group had more energy and vigor (extremely large effect sizes). Other very large effects were found in the exercise group, which had better social and sexual functioning and less bodily pain and fatigue than the control group. Future research should involve long-term studies to determine whether exercise not only improves quality of life but also helps slow the progression of disease.

The authors are with the Centre for Rehabilitation, Exercise and Sport Science, Victoria University, Melbourne, VIC 8001, Australia.

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