Medscape Today from WebMD reports that patients who have multiple sclerosis (MS) are able to exercise longer when they take intermittent rest breaks, according to a new study.
Researchers say the approach could help patients reap more benefits from exercise and physical therapy, the article notes.
Fatigue, which is a typical symptom of MS, often limits a patient’s ability to exercise. Herb Karpatkin, DSc, MPT, a physical therapist, MS specialist, and professor at the Hunter College Program in Physical Therapy in Brooklyn, New York, and colleagues sought to determine if patients reported different levels of fatigue when they engaged in intermittent–instead of continuous–exercise.
Thirty ambulatory patients who participated in the study had Expanded Disability Status Scale scores between 2.0 and 6.5. They were asked to perform 6 minutes of continuous or intermittent walking.
Intermittent exercise appears to have conferred the same physical benefit as continuous exercise. Karpatkin told Medscape that no comparison has been done in MS patients, but comparison studies of intermittent and continuous exercise have shown the the modes of exercise are equivalent in chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and fibromyalgia.