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Exercise training for multiple sclerosis: A narrative review of history, benefits, safety, guidelines, and promotion

Learmonth, Y.C.ORCID: 0000-0002-4857-8480 and Motl, R.W. (2021) Exercise training for multiple sclerosis: A narrative review of history, benefits, safety, guidelines, and promotion. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18 (24). Article 13245.

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Background: There have been significant advances in the medical treatment and management of multiple sclerosis pathogenesis, relapse and disease progression over the past 30 years. There have been advancements in the symptomatic treatment of multiple sclerosis, including management of secondary multiple sclerosis expressions such as walking, cognitive dysfunction, fatigue and depression. Scientific evidence and expert opinion suggest that exercise may be the single most effective non-pharmacological symptomatic treatment for multiple sclerosis. This article presents the historical context of exercise training within the multidisciplinary management of multiple sclerosis. We guide neurologists and healthcare providers on the recommended prescription of exercise and practical, theoretical methods to overcome barriers to exercise. Method: We undertook a critical search of the historical and current literature regarding exercise and multiple sclerosis from the viewpoint of exercise promotion by neurologists and the multidisciplinary care team. Results: We highlight the ever-strengthening body of research indicating that exercise is safe and effective for improving symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Further, exercise training may be necessary for reducing disease progression. Conclusion: We seek to encourage neurologists and specialists in multidisciplinary healthcare teams to prescribe and promote exercise at diagnosis and across all stages of the disease trajectory using prescriptive guidelines as part of comprehensive MS care. Available tools include clinical education to dispel any historical myths related to exercise in multiple sclerosis, clinical exercise guidelines and behaviour change theory to overcome patients barriers to exercise.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Psychology, Counselling, Exercise Science and Chiropractic
Centre for Healthy Ageing
Centre for Molecular Medicine and Innovative Therapeutics (CMMIT)
Health Futures Institute
Publisher: MDPI
Copyright: © 2021 by the authors
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