New research to help MS sufferers alleviate symptoms through exercise

April 12, 2018

Exercise boost: researchers are finding out the best ways to encourage MS sufferers to exercise.

While the benefits of exercise for people affected by multiple sclerosis are widely known, participation in regular physical activity is still a challenge for many sufferers.

Dr Yvonne Learmonth from Murdoch University’s School of Psychology and Exercise Science has recently launched an investigation into ways to increase the numbers of Australians with MS participating in exercise programs.

“Around 23,000 Australians suffer from MS, a chronic and debilitating disease affecting the central nervous system,” she said.

“Exercising is one of the best ways to alleviate symptoms like mobility impairment, fatigue and depression but few people are getting the recommended amount. This is particularly a problem in rural areas.

“I am interested in finding out why people aren’t accessing exercise rehabilitation programs so that we can develop programs better suited to their needs.”

Funded by an incubator grant from MS Research Australia, Dr Learmonth is surveying people with MS, their families and healthcare professionals around Australia to gain a better understanding of their views on the accessibility and suitability of exercise programs in their area.

She will also interview managers of health services in various parts of Australia.

Dr Learmonth said the surveys would help to guide future research and clinical practice to improve the services delivered to the MS community.

“Ultimately we would like to develop and test a program to deliver physical activity and exercise services to persons with MS living in non-metropolitan areas of Australia,” she said.

The research has been selected as a Whitaker Finalist to be presented at the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers in the United States next month.

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Media contact: Pepita Smyth
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Categories: General, Research, School of Psychology and Exercise Science Research
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