The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults with Multiple Sclerosis (PAGs) were released in 2013 but have yet to be validated. We aimed to test the effectiveness of the PAGs in improving fitness, mobility, fatigue symptoms, and quality of life (QOL) in a large cohort of adults with multiple sclerosis (MS).
As part of an ongoing randomized controlled trial examining implementation of the PAGs, participants were randomized to either a direct referral group (physician referral to an exercise program following the PAGs; n = 42) or a control group (provided a print copy of the PAGs; n = 37). Physical activity behavior was assessed through weekly physical activity logs. Fitness, mobility, fatigue symptoms, and QOL were assessed at baseline and after 16 weeks. Participants were categorized as either PAG adherers (n = 30) or nonadherers (n = 49) to the PAGs based on achieving the weekly exercise recommendations at least 75% of the time.
Adherence to the PAGs was twice as high in the referral group compared with the control group. Adherers experienced significantly greater improvements in peak oxygen consumption (29%), strength (7%–18%), mobility (16%), fatigue symptoms (−36%), and QOL (17%–22%) compared with nonadherers (P < .05).
Following the PAGs for at least 12 of 16 weeks results in improvements in fitness, mobility, fatigue symptoms, and QOL, confirming their effectiveness for improving health in people with MS.