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The impact of Bike MS participation on motivation for physical activity in MSers

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  • The impact of Bike MS participation on motivation for physical activity in MSers

    Disability and Health Journal
    Available online 26 October 2019, 100853

    I Ride for MS: The impact of Bike MS participation on motivation for physical activity in individuals with multiple sclerosis

    Kimberly S. Fasczewski, Hannah M.Cook, Katie E. Campbell, BlairAnderes


    Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that results in deficits in physical and cognitive functioning. Research supports the use of physical activity (PA) to aid in MS symptom management and slow disease progression, however individuals diagnosed with MS are generally physically inactive. Social support has been shown to increase PA behavior in group exercise settings. Events such as Bike MS, a charity bicycle ride where individuals raise money for MS, could increase motivation for participation and therefore may be an ideal setting to introduce PA to individuals diagnosed with MS.

    Hypothesis: The objective of the current research was to explore motives for participation in a Bike MS event in individuals diagnosed with MS and their family members, and examine if their Bike MS participation has translated to long-term PA behavior change and positive quality of life outcomes.

    A descriptive qualitative approach using semi-structured focus group, individual, and phone interviews, combined with observational field notes, was used to explore the experiences of seven individuals diagnosed with MS and four family members from two regional self-help groups who all actively participated in a Bike MS event.

    Participants reported important social bonds, raising awareness for the cause, fundraising, long-term physical benefits, and overall increased quality of life as motives for participation. All participants reported long-term PA participation as a result of Bike MS participation.

    Results support using Bike MS to increase long-term PA participation in individuals with MS, resulting in positive quality of life outcomes.
    Dave Bexfield

  • #2
    Funny, I just completed my Bike MS ride for the year and was thinking about how much this event has impacted my life. When my PT and I first started working together 15 years ago, he suggested I train for it since I had at that point not been riding due to the disease.

    Through these years, I’ve used the event as a benchmark on my progress….and knowing that I was registered to ride, and the captain of the team was, in the early days, the only thing at times that got me out on the bike.

    As I gained strength back, it was that I got enjoyment from riding, but always in the back of my head throughout the year was thoughts about what the ride would bring for me that year.

    I have met people who are now very good friends…both those with and without MS. And there are those I only see on Ride Day. I was so aware this year of how we with MS greeted each other… Big warm greeting, then the quick personal check with an Eye to Eye contact and the question “ How are you doing?”. Those of us with this disease know what that is asking, and we all answer in a code that MSers understand. All very comforting.

    I don’t know that a study needed to be done for this but do certainly agree with the findings. Gives one a goal to work toward in a very welcoming environment. The comraderie, sense of accomplishment in not only riding, but in whatever fundraising one does, plus the emotional support of others associated with the ride is very therapeutic for sure. A good sense of “family”. Even on past rides that were more difficult for me, the sense of support for whatever I did came through loud and strong.

    And a great way to get all your jerseys for free if you push it just a little with fundraising!
    Be thankful. Dream Big. Never Give Up.


    • #3
      Free Beer

      Free beer, can't believe free beer wasn't part of the study! Who thinks these studies up anyway?

      Very well organized and conducted primarily by fantastic volunteers.

      Most are as chalenging as a participant wants to make them.

      And yes, if you have MS and you want to complete one, it takes some training and that's good for you, like really good for you.

      If you have MS, they are a great way to measure how you're doing year to year, much more accurate than another MRI.

      And of course Bike MS is a great way to meet new friends and to spend time with old friends.

      And it's a pretty good cause too.

      Free beer! Did I mention the free beer?



      • #4
        You get free beer at yours?! Huh, we just have a beer tent at the finish line.

        Agree with everything:
        Great way to set a fitness target/goal to stay engaged with activities

        I have met so many great people at MS Bike, the cycling community becomes 1 degrees of separation, and the event is like a big reunion.

        Of course the awareness and fundraising is important too, the sense of achievement when you finish is amazing, and seeing others celebrate their achievement is really cool too. There are usually some cool team costumes and cool bikes at these as well.

        But if I peel all the layers away of why I love participating in MS Bike it comes down to being able to give MS the finger for a weekend.

        I had to miss one in 2016 due to a relapse, but my theme song is "the cat came back" and a key goal recovering from that was making it back the to the MS Bike, perhaps slower and doing the short route, but I'm back

        Ride on!
        Callenge life before life challenges you - from inside collar of my "Bike Off More Than You Chew" bike jersey