Effects of a short-term exercise training program on aerobic fitness, fatigue, health perception and activity level of subjects with multiple sclerosis

Mult Scler. 2002 Apr;8(2):161-8. doi: 10.1191/1352458502ms779oa.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients of an inpatient rehabilitation program have been randomly assigned to an exercise training (MS-ET) or nontraining group (MS-NI). Before and after 4 weeks of aerobic exercise training, a graded maximal exercise test with measurement of gas exchange and a lung function test was administered to all 26 patients fulfilling the inclusion criteria. Activity level, fatigue and health perception were measured by means of questionnaires. Twenty-six healthy persons served as control group and were matched in respect of age, gender and activity level. Training intervention consisted of 5x30 min sessions per week of bicycle exercise with individualised intensity. Compared with baseline, the MS training group demonstrated a significant rightward placement of the aerobic threshold (AT) (VO2+13%; work rate [WR])+11%), an improvement of health perception (vitality+46%; social interaction+36%), an increase of activity level (+17%) and a tendency to less fatigue. No changes were observed for the MS-NI group and the control groups. Maximal aerobic capacity and lung function were not changed by either training or nontraining in all four groups. Overall compliance to the training program was quite low (65%), whereas incidence of symptom exacerbation by physical activity has been lower than expected (6%).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Bicycling
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Exercise Tolerance
  • Exercise*
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Fatigue / therapy*
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications
  • Multiple Sclerosis / psychology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / rehabilitation*
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Patient Compliance
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome