United Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Circuit Training Can Have Positive Impact on Muscle Strength, Balance, Depression and Fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis Patients: A Randomized Controlled Study

Novotna K, et al

Background: Positive effect of aerobic or resistance training has been described in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS); however, only a few studies were dedicated to the use of combined circuit training in patients with MS. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of regular exercise in the form of circuit training (aerobic-resistance circuit training or resistance circuit training) in people with MS.

The study was randomized controlled trial.

Outpatient exercise training in University Hospital

Adults people with multiple sclerosis

For 12 weeks participants attended supervised circuit training sessions. The following assessments were completed at baseline, month 3 (at the end of the training program) and month 6 (follow-up): muscle strength in the knee flexors and extensors using a dynamometer and balance assessment with a Balance Master and walking tests. In addition, the following patient reported outcomes were captured: the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale, Beck Depression Inventory and SF-36.

Fifty patients with MS were included in this study [median age 43 years (range 23–68), median EDSS 3.5 (range 1.5–6), median disease duration 13.5 years (range 1–38 years)]. Following completion of 3 months of circuit training, significant improvements in knee flexor strength (p = 0.01), knee extensor strength (p = 0.01) and balance (p = 10-7), as well as decreased fatigue (p = 0.05) and depression (p = 0.01) were observed. These changes were seen again 3 months after completion of circuit training, at month 6 of the study.

Conclusion: Circuit training was well tolerated by people with mild-to-severe MS and had a positive effect on physical performance as well as on subjective measures of fatigue and depression. Improvements in muscle strength, postural balance and mood, and decreased fatigue outlasted the training by at least 3 months. Both types of used circuit training (aerobic-resistance circuit training and resistance circuit training) are suitable therapeutic intervention for people with mild-to-moderate MS.