The effectiveness of interventions targeting physical activity and/or sedentary behaviour in people with Multiple Sclerosis: a systematic review

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  • Elaine H Coulter, Glasgow Caledonian University, Queen Margaret University
  • ,
  • Sarah Bond, Queen Margaret University
  • ,
  • Ulrik Dalgas
  • Lorna Paul, Glasgow Caledonian University

BACKGROUND: Remaining physically active is important to maintain functional ability and reduce the incidence of co-morbidities in people with Multiple Sclerosis. The aim of this review was to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions on physical activity or sedentary behaviour in people with Multiple Sclerosis.

METHODS: A systematic search was conducted in May 2018 of the following databases: Web of Science Core Collections, Embase and Medline. Included studies were randomised controlled trials involving people with Multiple Sclerosis who completed an intervention, compared to any comparator. Outcomes included subjective or objective measures of physical activity or sedentary behaviour. Quality assessment was performed using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale.

RESULTS: Twenty-five trials were included covering 1697 participants, the majority of which had mild-moderate disability (average Physiotherapy Evidence Database score 6.2 ± 1.5). Experimental interventions included exercise prescription (n = 5), behaviour change interventions (n = 10), combined exercise, and behaviour change techniques (n = 7) and education (n = 3). Generally, subjective but not objective physical activity improved in those with mild-moderate disability. Insufficient data existed on the effectiveness on sedentary behaviour.

CONCLUSIONS: A discrepancy seems to exists between the effectiveness of physical activity interventions in people with Multiple Sclerosis depending on whether physical activity was assessed objectively or subjectively, with the latter indicating effects. Effects on sedentary behaviour remain to be elucidated. Implications for Rehabilitation Remaining physically active is important to maintain functional ability, independence, quality of life, and to reduce the incidence of co-morbidity. Exercise prescription, behaviour change interventions, combined exercise and behaviour change interventions, and health promotion education appear to subjectively improve physical activity in people with Multiple Sclerosis with mild-moderate disability, yet this is often not the case when measured objectively. There is a lack of evidence to support the effectiveness of these interventions on sedentary behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Pages (from-to)594-612
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

    Research areas

  • Multiple Sclerosis, disability, measurement, physical activity, review, sedentary behaviour

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