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A randomized controlled trial to establish the impact of aquatic exercise training on functional capacity, balance, and perceptions of fatigue in female patients with multiple sclerosis

Kargarfard, Mehdi; Shariat, Ardalan; Ingle, Lee; Cleland, Joshua A.; Kargarfard, Mina


Mehdi Kargarfard

Mina Kargarfard

Ardalan Shariat

Joshua A. Cleland


Objective: To assess the effects of 8-weeks aquatic exercise training on functional capacity, balance, and perceptions of fatigue in women with multiple sclerosis (MS). Design: A randomized controlled design. Setting: Referral center of a multiple sclerosis society. Participants: Women (age:36.4 ±8.2; BMI:24.5 ±1.9) diagnosed with RR-type (relapsing-remitting) MS. After undergoing baseline testing, participants were allocated to either an intervention (aquatic training programme) or a control group. Interventions: The intervention consisted of an 8-week aquatic training programme (3 supervised training sessions per week; session duration; 45-60 min; 50-75% heart rate reserve). Main measures: Six-minute walk test (6-MWT); balance (Berg Balance Scale; BBS), and perceptions of fatigue (Modified Fatigue Impact Scale; MFIS), at baseline and after an 8 week intervention. Differences over time between the experimental and control groups were assessed by a 2x2 (group by time) repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA). Results: 32 women (age:36.4 ±8.2; BMI:24.5 ±1.9) completed the 8-week aquatic training intervention (experimental group, n=17; controls, n = 15). All outcome measures improved in the experimental group; 6-MWT performance (451±58 m to 503±57 m; P<0.001); BBS (pre-test mean, 53.59±1.70; post-test mean, 55.18±1.18; P<0.001), and in the MFIS (pre-test mean, 43.1±14.6, post-test mean, 32.8 ±5.9;P<0.01). A significant group-by-time interaction was evident between the experimental and controls groups for 6-MWT:P<0.001, ηp²=0.551; BBS:P<0.001, ηp²=0.423; and MFIS: P<0.001, ηp²=0.679. Conclusions: Aquatic exercise training improves functional capacity, balance, and perceptions of fatigue in women with MS.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2018-02
Journal Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Print ISSN 0003-9993
Electronic ISSN 1532-821X
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 99
Issue 2
Pages 234-241
Keywords Aquatic; Exercise training; Functional capacity; Fatigue; Multiple sclerosis
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement ©2018, Elsevier. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Additional Information This is the accepted manuscript of an article published in Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation, 2018. The version of record is available at the DOI link in this record.


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