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Physical activity, sitting time and exercise types, and associations with symptoms in Australian people with multiple sclerosis

Marck, C.H., Learmonth, Y.C.ORCID: 0000-0002-4857-8480, Chen, J. and van der Mei, I. (2020) Physical activity, sitting time and exercise types, and associations with symptoms in Australian people with multiple sclerosis. Disability and Rehabilitation . Latest Article.

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) often leads to reduced physical activity and exercise participation. Sedentary behaviour is associated with poor health, whereas exercise is effective in managing MS symptoms. This study assessed physical activity, exercise and sedentary sitting time, and identified associations with symptoms.

Material and methods
Participants of the Australian MS Longitudinal Study completed surveys in 2016. We measured physical activity and sitting time via the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (short-form), and assessed participation in exercise (type and duration). Multivariable regression models assessed associations between physical activity, sitting time and exercise; and demographic characteristics and MS-related symptoms.

Of the 1216 participants, 53.0% reported moderate-high physical activity levels (71.5% among those with no/mild disability). Median sitting time was 7 h/day. Most (78.4%) participated in aerobic exercise, while only 16.4% participated in strength training. Having a progressive MS onset, more severe symptoms (i.e., cognitive impairment, depression, fatigue, mobility impairment) and being male was indicative of lower physical activity levels and higher sitting time.

Health promotion efforts should encourage physical activity and exercise, in particular strength training, among people with MS. People with more severe symptoms and progressive disease may require focused exercise promotion from healthcare professionals.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Psychology, Counselling, Exercise Science and Chiropractic
Centre for Molecular Medicine and Innovative Therapeutics (CMMIT)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Copyright: © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
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