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STUDY: Aerobic exercise DECREASES fatigue in MS

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  • STUDY: Aerobic exercise DECREASES fatigue in MS

    I've worked out aerobically for 30-45 minutes most days for the past 15 years. Since being diagnosed in 2006, I've kept up the same schedule. And I've never had fatigue. Coincidence? Luck? Probably a bit of both. But the below 2011 study does make it clear that cardio work does help with MS fatigue. So that excuse "I can't work out because it makes me tired" doesn't hold up to science. - Dave

    p.s. The MFIS is the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale

    Efficacy of cycle ergometer rehabilitation treatments in ambulatory multiple sclerosis subjects: a pilot study

    M.L. Lopes de Carvalho, M. Di Santi, M.A. Battaglia, G. Brichetto (Genoa, IT)

    Objectives: People with MS tend to be less physically active than general population even when their MS has caused minimal disability. One of the most frequently reported symptoms is primary fatigue. Randomized controlled trials have demonstrated that aerobic exercise training can improve fatigue and endurance in Multiple Sclerosis subjects. The aim of our study was to evaluate the efficacy of cycle ergometer aerobic training in a group of Multiple Sclerosis subjects.

    Materials and methods: We recruited 57 MS subjects among those followed as outpatients at AISM Rehabilitation Centre, Italian Multiple Sclerosis Society, Genova, Italy. All subjects were ambulatory and they were trained on a cycle ergometer (TheraVital Medica Germany) with anti spasm control and visual feedback. All subjects were evaluated with Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), Modified Fatigue Impact Scale, Ambulation Index, Time-to-walk 7,5 meter at the start and at the end of treatment. All subjects were treated for 20 sessions, 2-3 times / week, 45 minutes / session.

    Results: Out of 57 MS subjects, 38 were female and 19 male; mean age was 54 years, mean EDSS 5,26; Primary Progressive 10,3%, Relapsing remitting 48,3%, Secondary progressive 41,4%. Data analysis showed an improvement for MFIS total Score and Time to walk 7,5 meter with a p < 0,05 while Ambulation Index Score did not showed any improvement.

    Conclusions: Our data, consistently with previous studies on aerobic exercises in Multiple Sclerosis subjects, underlined the efficacy of rehabilitation treatment with cycle-ergometer in improving fatigue in PwMS. Furthermore the absence of drop outs during the training program showed that MS subjects can safely conduct a cycle-ergometer aerobic training and could be considered as a part of multimodal approach in treating fatigue in MS subjects.
    Dave Bexfield

  • #2
    All of your research citations in your current newsletter are exciting, and I hope to feature them in the future on my blog. Since my blog's medium is poetry, I have to figure out a way to do that.

    As for fatigue and exercise, their relationship is complex. I was an avid squash player and jogger when I came down with crushing fatigue as my first MS symptom. The fatigue has moderated somewhat and it is still a challenge to maintain stamina, but I adhere to a fairly consistent regimen of exercise which includes a stationary bike and glider for the aerobic component.


    • #3
      I'm glad to know of these studies. I have a hard time knowing my limits---too much and I collapse or deal with major pain, too little i also get worse and fatigue is often debilitating...

      Right now I'm trying to do moderate exercise daily. Even for stress relief. And to prod energy back to motion a little... been very low energy of late.