Impact of a Home-Based Exercise Intervention on Fitness and Walking Outcomes in Persons with Multiple Sclerosis: Preliminary Results
Objectives: We investigated the effects of a novel, home-based exercise intervention on aerobic fitness (i.e., VO2peak) and walking mobility (i.e., Timed 25-Foot Walk (T25FW) and Six-Minute Walk (6MW)) in persons with MS.
Methods: 20 persons with MS (age of 45±10.1 years, BMI of 25.9±5 kg/m², & 15 females) who had mild disability (mdn EDSS score=3.0) were randomly assigned into aerobic exercise (i.e., cycle ergometry) or attention-control (stretching along with minimal muscle strengthening stimuli) conditions. Both conditions provided standardized exercise programs delivered over a 12-week period and undertaken in the participants’ homes. Participants in both groups further engaged in weekly, one-on-one video chats with a behavioral coach for maximizing compliance. The exercise group performed three days/week of cycle ergometry, initially for 10 minutes/day at 40% VO2peak and progressing to 30 minutes/day at 60%VO2peak. The attention-control group performed three days/week of stretching exercises, beginning with one set of five different stretches and progressing to two sets of 10 stretches. Aerobic fitness (i.e., VO2peak) was assessed using a maximal, incremental exercise test on a cycle ergometer, and walking mobility was assessed using T25FW and 6MW before and after the 12-week period.
Results: There were significant improvements in VO2peak, T25FW, and 6MW favoring the aerobic exercise condition compared with the attention-control condition. The effect sizes were d=0.39, 0.65, and 0.48 for VO2peak, T25FW, and 6MW, respectively.
Conclusions: These preliminary data suggest that a home-based aerobic exercise intervention that maximizes compliance can be effective for increasing aerobic fitness and walking mobility in persons with MS.