Progressive resistance exercise for people with multiple sclerosis Academic Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE: This study aimed to determine if participation in a progressive resistance exercise (PRE) programme can: (1) increase the ability to generate maximal muscle force, (2) increase muscle endurance, (3) increase functional activity, and (4) improve overall psychological function of people with multiple sclerosis (MS). METHODS: A pre-post single group research design with a 4-week baseline familiarisation phase was used. Nine people (mean age 45.6 years, SD 10.7) with MS attended a gymnasium three times over 4 weeks for familiarization. Participants then completed a twice-weekly 10-week PRE programme, with two sets of 10 - 12 repetitions of each exercise. Outcome measures of muscle strength (1RM for arms and legs), muscle endurance (repetitions at half 1RM), walking speed, the 2-min walk test (2MWT), a timed stairs test, and the impact of MS on physical and psychological function were taken at weeks 2, 4, and 14. RESULTS: Participants attended 94.3% (SD 8.2%) of the training sessions, with no adverse events. After accounting for baseline stability, significant improvements (P < 0.05) were found in arm strength (14.4%), leg endurance (170.9%), fast walking speed (6.1%), and there was a trend for increased distance in the 2MWT (P = 0.06). The perceived impact of MS on physical function was reduced (P = 0.02). CONCLUSIONS: Adults with MS benefited from a PRE programme by improving muscle performance and physical activities, without adverse events. These findings suggest that PRE may be a feasible and useful fitness alternative for people with mild to moderate disability due to MS.

publication date

  • January 2006