Back to Journals » Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment » Volume 6 » Issue 1

Walking impairment in patients with multiple sclerosis: exercise training as a treatment option

Authors Motl R, Goldman, Benedict R

Published 16 November 2010 Volume 2010:6(1) Pages 767—774


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Robert W Motl1, Myla D Goldman2, Ralph HB Benedict3
1Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA; 2Department of Neurology, University of Virginia, VA, USA; 3Department of Neurology, SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine, Buffalo, NY, USA

Abstract: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease of the central nervous system that culminates in the progression of physical and cognitive disability over time. Walking impairment is a ubiquitous feature of MS and a sentinel characteristic of the later or advanced stages of the disease. This paper presents a conceptual rationale along with empirical evidence for exercise training as a rehabilitation approach for managing walking impairment and improving walking function in persons with MS. Conceptually, MS is associated with a decrease in physical activity, which, in turn, can result in deconditioning across multiple domains of physiological functioning. The resulting deconditioning feeds back and further drives physical inactivity until a threshold is reached that likely initiates the progression of walking impairment in MS. Empirically, physical activity and exercise training have been associated with beneficial effects on walking function in persons with MS. This is based on cross-sectional, longitudinal, and experimental research that included diversity in the breadth of measures of walking, persons with MS, and exercise/physical activity characteristics. Of particular importance, future researchers might consider examining the combinatory effects of exercise training plus pharmacological agents on walking mobility in MS. Collectively, exercise training and physical activity might hold significant potential for the management of progressive mobility disability in MS.

Keywords: mobility, walking, exercise, physical activity, movement

Creative Commons License © 2010 The Author(s). This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.