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Aquatic exercises' effect on mood and fatigue in MS

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  • Aquatic exercises' effect on mood and fatigue in MS

    International Journal of MS Care In-Press.

    Effects of an Acute Bout of Aquatic Exercise on Mood in Multiple Sclerosis: A Pilot Study
    Helen Genova, PhD; Rosalia Dacosta-Aguayo, PhD; Yael Goverover, PhD; Angela Smith, MA; Chris Bober, MSW; John DeLuca, PhD

    From Neuropsychology and Neuroscience, Kessler Foundation, East Hanover, NJ, USA (HG, RD-A, AS, CB, JD); Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (HG, RD-A, JD) and Department of Neurology (JD), Rutgers University, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, USA; and Department of Occupational Therapy, New York University, New York City, NY, USA (YG).


    Background: Physical activity is known to be an effective way of managing multiple sclerosis (MS) related symptoms. Further, it has been reported that even a single bout of physical activity can yield improvements in mood in persons with MS (pwMS). Aquatic exercise (AqE) can be an effective and enjoyable physical activity in pwMS. However, there is little research focusing on the immediate effects of AqE on mood in pwMS. Thus, we assessed the acute effects of a single bout of AqE on mood.

    Methods: Eight pwMS participated in a 45-minute AqE class as well as 45 minutes of a seated rest control condition. The Profile of Mood States was given before and after each condition (rest and AqE). Repeated measures analysis of variance and paired-samples tests were used to examine whether AqE resulted in improvement in mood. Due to the small sample size, effect sizes were considered.

    Results: Moderate to large effect sizes indicated a condition by time interaction, such that mood increased and fatigue reduced following an acute bout of AqE compared to rest.

    Conclusions: This proof of concept study suggests that mood symptoms are improved immediately following a short bout of AqE. Future research is needed to explore whether these effects are reliable and whether they can be sustained with more frequent bouts of AqE.
    Dave Bexfield