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The effects of a 12-week leisure centre-based, group exercise intervention for people moderately affected with multiple sclerosis: a randomized controlled pilot study
Clinical Rehabilitation,  Clinical Article

Learmonth YC et al. – The results of the study suggest that community–based group exercise classes are a feasible option for people moderately affected with multiple sclerosis, and offer benefits such as improved physical activity levels, balance and leg strength.

Methods
  • Randomised controlled pilot trial.
  • Two community leisure centres.
  • Thirty-two participants with multiple sclerosis randomised into intervention or control groups.
  • The intervention group received 12 weeks of twice weekly, 60-minute group exercise sessions, including mobility, balance and resistance exercises.
  • The control group received usual care.
  • An assessor blinded to group allocation assessed participants at baseline, after eight weeks and after 12 weeks.
  • The primary outcome measure was 25-foot (7.6 m) walk time, secondary outcomes assessed walking endurance, balance, physical function, leg strength, body mass index, activity levels, fatigue, anxiety and depression, quality of life and goal attainment.

Results
  • The intervention made no statistically significant difference to the results of participants’ 25-foot walk time.
  • However the intervention led to many improvements.
  • In the intervention group levels of physical activity improved statistically between baseline and week 8 (P < 0.001) and baseline and week 12 (P = 0.005).
  • Balance confidence results showed a significant difference between baseline and week 12 (P = 0.013).
  • Good effect sizes were found for dynamic balance (d = 0.80), leg strength (d = 1.33), activity levels (d = 1.05) and perceived balance (d = 0.94).

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