Experiences and perceived outcomes of persons with multiple sclerosis from participating in a randomized controlled trial testing implementation of the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults with MS: an embedded qualitative study Journal Articles uri icon

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  • PURPOSE: To describe the experiences and outcomes of participants who enrolled in a randomized controlled trial testing implementation of the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults with Multiple Sclerosis. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Fifty-six persons with MS who enrolled in the trial participated in the current study which involved a semi-structured interview at 16-week follow-up. Interview data were analyzed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Of the 56 participants, 26 ended up enrolling in a community-based exercise program specialized for persons with multiple sclerosis (MS), 7 joined another gym, 4 trained at home, and 17 took part in no specific program. Across all study participants, positive outcomes were reported across a number of domains including mental function, knowledge about the physical activity (PA) and MS, physical function, advocacy of PA to peers, daily participation, and body awareness. For those who enrolled in the community-based program, having a supportive and inclusive environment was critical to their PA experiences. Furthermore, environmental supports, particularly knowledgeable and supportive trainers and similar peers, contributed largely to the positive mental changes and increased knowledge gained. CONCLUSIONS: Our study provides support for the promotion of PA in persons with MS and the development of community-based programs adapted for people with MS.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATIONEngaging in regular physical activity is associated with many positive benefits and outcomes for people with MS.Supportive elements such as a community of peers who also have MS, adaptive equipment, and trainers who are knowledgeable about MS are especially important for creating positive experiences including enjoyment from and desire to engage in regular physical activity.This study provides support for further advocacy (e.g., by persons with MS directly) and referral to community-based exercise programs adapted for people with MS.


  • Akbar, Nadine
  • Hazlewood, Sarah
  • Clement, Marlee
  • Pollock, Gemma
  • Canning, Karissa
  • Latimer-Cheung, Amy E
  • Hicks, Audrey Lyn
  • Finlayson, Marcia

publication date

  • August 14, 2022