“The rate of MS in Canada is among the highest in the world,” says Dr. Latimer-Cheung. “Evidence indicates that engaging in exercise has the potential to improve and/or maintain functional ability, aerobic fitness, strength, fatigue and depression among people with MS. Unfortunately, many people with MS are physically inactive.”
This conclusion was reached by Dr. Latimer-Cheung and her colleagues at McMaster University and the University of Illinois after a review of a wide range of research studies examining the benefits of exercise for adults living with MS. The studies tested the effects of a variety of types exercise on a number of important outcomes for people living with MS. This research along with a rigorous expert review process led to the creation of the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults with MS which were then incorporated into the new MS Get Fit Toolkit.
“We identified the minimum amount of exercise and developed the guidelines from there,” says Dr. Latimer-Cheung. “We want to ensure people living with MS have a good quality of life.”
The Guideline indicates that adults with MS who have a mild to moderate disability need at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity two times per week and strength training activities two times per week.
The Guidelines and the MS Get Fit Toolkit, which outlines how a person with MS can include safe, appropriate and effective exercise in their daily routine, are now being distributed by the MS Society of Canada and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology.
Dr. Latimer-Cheung is working with the MS Society of Canada, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology and ParticipACTION on implementing the new guidelines.
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