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Remote Aerobic Walking Exercise May Improve Cognitive Function in Multiple Sclerosis Patients, Study Finds

Aerobic walking exercise can potentially improve cognitive processing speed (CPS) in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), a common MS symptom that can affect up to 70% of people with the condition. However, accessibility to exercise training programs can be a challenge for many people with MS.

In a pilot study by the Kessler Foundation in New Jersey, remote aerobic walking exercise training showed effectiveness in managing CPS impairment in fully ambulatory people with MS. The study involved 25 participants who were prescreened for CPS impairment and who randomly received either remotely delivered aerobic walking exercise training or stretching and range-of-motion activities. Both groups completed their exercises three times a week and received regular coaching from an exercise specialist via scheduled Zoom calls. 

The study found moderate CPS improvements in participants who walked compared to those who performed stretching activities. The intervention group showed higher Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) scores at the end of the study compared to the control group. 

The results suggest that remotely delivered exercise programs can be just as effective as in-person sessions for fully ambulatory people with MS.

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