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Sports would reduce Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

Canadian researchers have shown that people with multiple sclerosis (MS) who have difficulty increasing their level of physical activity can improve their symptoms by adding daily activities to their routine.

This small study by researchers at the University of Alberta took into account 40 subjects followed as part of a 15-week program. They were accompanied by sports coaches in order to reduce their sedentary lifestyle. They had to add walking, household chores and sports to their days and were equipped with Fitbit wristbands to track their level of physical activity.

Their results showed that after 15 weeks, participants experienced improvements in most of their MS symptoms, including a reduction in fatigue. Their pace and endurance were also improved.

Physical activity is very important for people with multiple sclerosis because it can help them improve symptoms of the disease. However, it is also these same symptoms (mobility problems, fatigue and depression) that make physical activity more difficult for patients. Indeed, people with MS sit twice as long as their peers because of the fatigue caused by the disease.

The researchers explain that even if more research is needed, these initial results are encouraging for patients for whom "formal" sport is not easy to access.

"Some people sometimes think that when the exercise rehabcure(.)org/physiotherapy/physiotherapists/slipped-disc/ is not carried out in a formal way, it does not really count, but sitting less long and moving more (...) is more feasible and it is a good starting point " , noted researcher Patricia Manns.

The team also added that MS generally affects a population between the ages of 20 and 49 who are likely to compare themselves to their peers and tend to feel guilty when they are less active than the average. But the patients followed during the study saw their concept of physical activity evolve. "My view of physical activity is completely different now," said one patient in the study. "Before, for me it was going swimming or going for a long walk, going to the gym or doing yoga. I imagine that I would not have believed that going to fetch the mail was a physical activity rehabcure(.)org/physiotherapy/physiotherapists/" , specifies the patient.

Canadian authorities   recommend that adults between the ages of 18 and 64 with MS have moderate intensity activity of at least 30 minutes twice a week, as well as strength training twice a week. Professor Manns says that "people have been living with MS for many years, and taking such an approach could play an important role in helping them to be more active and manage their symptoms."

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