Accessible exercise equipment and individuals with multiple sclerosis: Aerobic demands and preferences
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BACKGROUND: Although exercise training has benefits for individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS), research regarding the type of exercise equipment that requires the greatest aerobic demand, and consumer-based preferences, is lacking. OBJECTIVE: To determine the aerobic demands of various pieces of accessible exercise equipment and consumer-based preferences on several domains. METHODS: Ten individuals with moderate-severity MS had their VO2 measured during 10 minutes of moderate-intensity arm ergometry (AE), body-weight support treadmill training (BWSTT), recumbent arm-leg exercise (NuStep), FES-arm exercise (RT300), FES-leg exercise (RT300) and FES arm-leg exercise (RT200). VO2peak test was also measured on the NuStep and the RT200. Equipment preferences were determined by questionnaire after moderate exercise sessions. RESULTS: AE required a lower VO2 compared to the NuStep (p = 0.02), and FES-arm exercise required a lower VO2 compared to the NuStep (p = 0.01) and FES arm-leg exercise (p = 0.04). There was no difference in VO2peak when using the NuStep or FES arm-leg exercise. AE was perceived as safer than BWSTT, but otherwise there were no preferences for any equipment. CONCLUSIONS: For individuals with moderate-severity MS, arm-only exercise requires less aerobic demands than combined arm-leg exercise at a moderate intensity. Perceived risks may be greater when exercise requires a transfer, upright positioning, or assistance.
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