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Impact of aquatic exercise on functional capacity, balance, and fatigue in MS

Key Message

Aquatic exercise training improved functional capacity, balance, and perceptions of fatigue in women with MS.


Kargarfard,Mehdi et al. (2017). A randomized controlled trial to examine the impact of aquatic exercise training on functional capacity, balance, and perceptions of fatigue in female patients with multiple sclerosis. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Available online 20 July 2017.


To assess the effects of 8-weeks aquatic exercise training program on functional capacity, balance, and perceptions of fatigue in women with multiple sclerosis (MS). Participants were women (age: 36.4 ±8.2) diagnosed with relapsing-remitting (RR-type) MS. After undergoing baseline testing by a neurologist, participants were allocated to either an intervention (aquatic training program) or a control group. The intervention consisted of an 8-week aquatic training program (3 supervised training sessions per week; session duration; 45-60 min; 50-75% estimated maximum heart rate). Main measures were a 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).


32 women 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.

Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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