We want to help people with multiple sclerosis (MS) find ways to exercise to improve their function and decrease their level of disability. People with MS often have decreased mobility that can lead to more disability and less physical activity and participation in daily life activities. Exercise has been shown to decrease symptoms of MS and improve mobility. However, people with MS often face barriers to exercise. Symptoms of MS, as well as inaccessible gyms or equipment, lack of knowledge about how to safely exercise with MS, lack of understanding about the types of exercise that would be beneficial to people with MS, and affordability are some factors that make it harder for people with MS to exercise, even if they are highly motivated. In order to promote exercise in people with MS, these barriers must be alleviated. Providing evidence about different delivery modes of an exercise program will help people with MS make educated decisions about how to best use their time and resources to improve their mobility, decrease their disability, and maintain a healthy and productive life. In addition, this information could be used by medical, rehabilitation, and exercise professionals in developing accessible programs for people with MS.
This project will address the barrier of accessibility as well as the sustainability of exercise options. We will enroll people with MS who are able to walk slowly into one of two exercise groups: a facility-based exercise training (FET) or a telerehab exercise training (TET) group. In both cases participants will receive evidence-based exercise guidelines and support. The only difference will be that some people with be in a gym or rehabilitation center (FET) and some will be at home (TET). We will measure participants’ ability to walk, their perception of their mobility and symptoms, and quality of life. We will also measure how confident they are with exercising or participating in physical activities on their own.
We will engage a stakeholder group of people with MS and community medical, rehabilitation, and exercise professionals to help design this study and to select the outcomes we collect. With the help of these stakeholders we will develop tools based on our findings to help educate people with MS about different modes of exercise interventions to help them make educated choices about which one might be most beneficial for them. We will also develop materials to educate community medical, rehabilitation, and exercise professionals to enable the development of affordable, accessible, and sustainable exercise options for people with MS, as well as to promote referral of people with MS to appropriate community resources.
*All proposed projects, including requested budgets and project periods, are approved subject to a programmatic and budget review by PCORI staff and the negotiation of a formal award contract.