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Finding the right exercise balance for people with multiple sclerosis

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A James Cook University researcher is looking for volunteers as she examines the beneficial effects of sport and exercise for people with Multiple Sclerosis.

JCU physiotherapy lecturer Moira Smith has developed a 12-week flexible exercise program for people with MS – a condition that interferes with nerve impulses of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. The disease is often progressive, resulting in increasing levels of disability.

“We now think that exercise can have a neuroprotective effect – it may reduce the number of relapses experienced. Exercise is definitely beneficial for people with MS but we need more investigation into why this is the case,” said Ms Smith.

She will examine the effects of exercise on high-level mobility, vitality and biomarkers to see whether exercise can slow the disease down.

“Some people with MS are unsure about how hard to push themselves with exercise and when to back off. The aim of the current study is to find the right balance between too much and too little sport and exercise,” she said.

Ms Smith is looking for people with minimal disability from relapsing-remitting MS, living in the Townsville area.

The program will consist of 12 weeks of aerobic exercise or sport. Each participant will choose an exercise, location and time that suits them and will work independently on the exercise. Their progression will be guided each week by a physiotherapist.

For more information, contact Moira Smith at moira.smith2@jcu.edu.au

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