Pilot Study supports use of community MS exercise classes

A study published in the journal Clinical Rehabilitation over the summer has reported the positive effects a 12 week community based exercise class can have on patients with MS. 20 patients with MS underwent a 60 minute twice weekly class based on mobility, balance and strengthening exercises. This was compared to the 12 MS patients who underwent usual care. The Timed 25-Foot Walk Test was the primary outcome measure used while secondary outcome measures included body mass index, six minute walk test, borg balance scale, timed up and go, quadriceps strength, quality of life, balance confidence (Activities Balance Confidence Scale) and physical activity levels (PhoneFITT). These were taken at baseline, week 8 and week 12.

The group session involved a 10-minute warm-up of aerobic and stretching components, 30–40 minutes of circuit exercises, and a 5–10 minute cool-down. Participants completed a circuit of 8–12 different exercises for 1 minute each, having a minimum of 1 minute rest before moving to the next exercise. Resistance exercises used included shoulder shrugs, leg extensions, squats and calf raises. Shuttle walk, static bike and side steps were incorporated to improve aerobic capacity while single leg stance and modified sit to stand were amongst the balance training interventions used.

While no difference was seen in the studies primary outcome measure, a statistically significant difference was seen in the intervention group’s physical activity levels and perceived balance confidence. Good effect sizes were also seen in the intervention group’s berg balance score and quadriceps strength. Outcome measures improved more so at week 12 in comparison with week 8 which suggests that a longer exercise period is more beneficial. The article is available at the link below as is an attachment with the breakdown of the interventions and progressions used in the class.