Predictors of Setting Exercise Goals in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis.

TitlePredictors of Setting Exercise Goals in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis.
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsLaRotonda CJ, Cline MJ, Wadhwani R, Bombardier CH, Ehde DM, Kraft GH, Bowen JD
JournalInternational Journal of MS Care

Background: Exercise is important in managing multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms. However, little is known about factors that contribute to patients’ decisions to set exercise goals. Methods: Sequential MS patients (N = 119) who were ambulatory without aid were eligible for inclusion. Participants were randomly assigned to receive motivational exercise counseling and exercise goal setting or to a usual-care condition. Baseline characteristics were assessed to determine factors that might potentially influence the setting of exercise goals. Subjects were evaluated for fatigue (Modified Fatigue Impact Scale), pain (Brief Pain Inventory), depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale), disability (MS Functional Composite), and Motivational Readiness to Exercise Scale. Results: Of 49 evaluable subjects in the exercise condition, 81.2% were women, 98% were white, 83.7% had relapsing MS, mean age was 51.5 ± 10.2 years, and mean time since diagnosis was 10.7 ± 6.7 years. Mean 25-foot timed walk was 5.00 ± 1.34 seconds. Mean baseline exercise was 71.5 ± 68.0 min/week. Exercise goals averaged 158.0 ± 96.4 min/week. The amount of exercise set as a goal was not statistically correlated with prestudy exercise behavior (P = .168, R = 0.207), fatigue (P = .373, R = 0.135), depression (P = .872, R = 0.025), pain (P = .195, R = 0.253), 25-foot timed gait (P = .201, R = 0.192), marital status (P = .470, R = 0.109), education (P = .157, R = 0.212), employment (P = .442, R = 0.158), or readiness to exercise (P = .535, R = 0.096) Conclusions: Baseline patient characteristics are not strongly associated with the ability to set exercise targets in ambulatory adults with MS. Patients can successfully set exercise goals despite disability, fatigue, depression, pain, or prior exercise activity.

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