Long-term endurance training improves general health perception in multiple sclerosis patients with fatigue: results of an exploratory study
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To determine if long-term endurance exercise improves quality of life (QOL) in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).
89 patients with relapsing–remitting MS and an EDSS of <3.5 participated in a prospective non-randomized controlled exploratory trial. The exercise program comprised a walking exercise three times weekly for 30 min (“interval training” twice weekly, “endurance training” once weekly) for 12 months. Participants were tested every 3 months on a treadmill according to a modified Naughton protocol. Fatigue was assessed by the Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) and QOL by a German version of the Short Form Health Survey (SF-36). Data were analyzed using analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measurements.
20 patients without and 24 with fatigue completed the program. QOL was reduced in several subscales of the SF-36 in MS patients with fatigue at baseline: physical functioning (p < 0.001), physical role functioning (p < 0.002), bodily pain (p ≤ 0.04), vitality (p ≤ 0.001), social role functioning (p ≤ 0.004), emotional role functioning (p ≤ 0.03), mental health (p ≤ 0.006). Exercise training resulted in a significant improvement of the subscale general health perceptions (p ≤ 0.01).
Fatigue contributes significantly to QOL in MS patients. A significant improvement in the subscale general health perceptions was demonstrated by a 12-month endurance walking program in MS patients with fatigue.
KeywordsMultiple sclerosis Fatigue Quality of life Endurance exercise
Quality of life
American College of Sports Medicine
Expanded Disability Status Scale
Peak oxygen consumption
Fatigue Severity Scale
- SF-36 Health Survey
Short Form Health Survey
Physical role functioning
General health perceptions
Social role functioning
Emotional role functioning
Analysis of variance
Compliance with ethical standards
This study was funded by Bayer Vital (Grant Number PB05).
Conflict of interest
Both authors have received speaker honoraria from Bayer Vital.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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