Compared to an active control condition, in persons with multiple sclerosis two different types of exercise training improved sleep and depression, but not fatigue, paresthesia, and intolerance of uncertainty

Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2019 Nov:36:101356. doi: 10.1016/j.msard.2019.07.032. Epub 2019 Jul 29.


Background: In persons with multiple sclerosis (MS), physical activity favorably impacts on psychological well-being. The aims of the present study were to investigate the influence of physical activity on depression, fatigue, sleep, paresthesia, and personality traits (intolerance of uncertainty), and to explore, if endurance training or coordinative training are superior to an active control condition.

Methods: 92 female individuals with MS (mean age: 37.36 years; mean EDSS: 2.43) took part in this intervention study. Participants were randomly assigned either to endurance training, coordinative training, or to an active control condition. At baseline, 4 weeks, and 8 weeks later at the end of the study, participants completed questionnaires on sleep, depression, fatigue, paresthesia and intolerance of uncertainty. Exercise training interventions took place three times/week for 45 min/session. Participants in the active control condition also met with the same duration and frequency.

Results: Sleep complaints and symptoms of depression decreased over time, but more so in the exercising groups, compared to the active control group. No changes over time and between groups were observed for fatigue, paresthesia, and intolerance of uncertainty.

Conclusions: Both endurance and coordinative exercising had the potential to favorably impact on some aspects of cognitive-emotional processing, while also an active control condition appeared to have a positive impact.

Keywords: Active control condition; Coordinative training; Endurance training; Multiple sclerosis; Personality traits.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Endurance Training / methods*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications
  • Multiple Sclerosis / therapy*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Paresthesia / etiology
  • Paresthesia / therapy*
  • Personality*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy*
  • Uncertainty