Effects of Single Bouts of Walking Exercise and Yoga on Acute Mood Symptoms in People with Multiple Sclerosis

Int J MS Care. 2016 Jan-Feb;18(1):1-8. doi: 10.7224/1537-2073.2014-104.


Background: Little is known about the acute or immediate effects of walking exercise and yoga on mood in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Such an examination is important for identifying an exercise modality for inclusion in exercise-training interventions that yields mood benefits in MS. We examined the effects of single bouts of treadmill walking and yoga compared with a quiet, seated-rest control condition on acute mood symptoms in MS.

Methods: Twenty-four participants with MS completed 20 minutes of treadmill walking, yoga, or quiet rest in a randomized, counterbalanced order with 1 week between sessions. Participants completed the Profile of Mood States questionnaire before and immediately after each condition. Total mood disturbance (TMD) and the six subscales of the Profile of Mood States were analyzed using repeated-measures analysis of variance and paired-samples t tests.

Results: There was a significant condition × time interaction on TMD scores (ηp (2) = 0.13). Walking and yoga conditions yielded comparable reductions in TMD scores. There was a significant condition × time interaction on vigor (ηp (2) = 0.23) whereby walking but not yoga yielded an improvement in vigor. There was a significant main effect of time on anger, confusion, depression, and tension (P < .05) but not on fatigue.

Conclusions: Walking and yoga yielded similar improvements in overall acute mood symptoms, and walking improved feelings of vigor. These effects should be further investigated in long-term exercise-training studies.