Vascular comorbidities are prevalent among people with multiple sclerosis and have adverse disease-related consequences. In the general population, physical activity and exercise training have proven beneficial for vascular disease risk management. People with multiple sclerosis exhibit particularly low rates of physical activity; therefore, physical activity represents a modifiable health behavior for managing vascular comorbidity risk in multiple sclerosis, and reducing disease burden. The purpose of this report was to review existing evidence linking physical activity and exercise training to potential modification of vascular comorbidities and related risk factors in people with multiple sclerosis.
Overall, 14 of the 17 observational studies identified (82.4%) reported an association between higher levels of physical activity or cardiorespiratory fitness, or decreased sedentary behavior, and better function of at least one risk factor related to vascular comorbid conditions in people with multiple sclerosis. The efficacy of exercise training in limiting vascular comorbidity risk and burden was dependent upon intervention type and duration, with 9 of 17 interventional studies (52.9%) reporting improvement in at least one relevant measure of vascular comorbidity in participants with multiple sclerosis.
The authors concluded that there is a potential relationship between physical activity and exercise and risk factors related to vascular comorbidities in people with multiple sclerosis. Physical activity and exercise training interventions may represent an effective therapeutic strategy for managing vascular comorbidities in people with multiple sclerosis, justifying further investigation.
Ewanchuk BW, Gharagozloo M, Peelen E, Pilutti LA: Exploring the role of physical activity and exercise for managing vascular comorbidities in people with multiple sclerosis: A scoping review. Mult. Scler. Relat. Disord. 26:19-32 (2018).