Guest post: The meaning of exercise and physical activity in community-dwelling people with MS

It is well established that exercise and physical activity is beneficial for people with MS. However, we also know that people with MS report lower levels of physical
activity and lead sedentary lifestyles. Finding ways to increase physical activity in people with MS remains a challenge for both people with MS and health professionals.
Nevertheless, getting this right is crucial because of the increased risk associated with the secondary complications associated with inactivity. These include, but are not limited to, type 2 diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular conditions.

Whilst there are many studies related to exercise and physical activity in people with MS, only a few have asked people with MS about their perspectives on the issue. It is the authors’ view that understanding how people with MS view exercise and physical activity might help health professionals in their discussions around exercise and physical activity and create greater opportunities to increase and sustain physical activity levels in people with MS.

A recent study, using interviews, explored the meanings people with MS ascribe ro exercise and physical activity. Their views suggest that exercise and physical activity hold multiple meanings. They spoke of the physical, psychological and social benefits of exercise and physical activity. However interestingly, they provided greater insight in highlighting that for people with MS, exercise and physical activity was more than just movement, it was also how they lived and coped with a variable progressive neurological condition.

Read more about the views and opinions on the meanings people with MS ascribe to excercise and physical activity.

Andrea Stennett PhD, is a post-doctoral Research Fellow at Brunel University. Her research interests include exploring the exercise and physical activity priorities of people with Multiple Sclerosis. She also works clinically as a Neuro-Physiotherapist and has a keen interest in the management of long-term neurological conditions.