Over 90% of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) report mobility difficulties, and maintaining mobility is consistently ranked as one of the highest priorities for MS patients.

A new paper in the Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management reviews the increasingly good evidence suggesting that exercise is well tolerated by MS patients, and they can exercise sufficiently to improve their fitness, function, and quality of life.

According to lead author Susan Kasser, PhD, targeted balance-oriented exercise in people with MS has the potential to improve balance and functional mobility, although more rigorous study on the topic is needed.

Explains Dr. Kasser, "Given the inherent variability of MS and the heterogeneity of symptoms and disease course across individuals, no single exercise prescription is optimal for all those diagnosed. Treatment goals must be individualized."

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society recommends that people with MS participate in individualized exercise programs to improve cardiovascular fitness, strength, and balance and to decrease fatigue and depression

Lead author Susan Kasser, PhD, is Exercise and Movement Science Program Director and an Associate Professor of Rehabilitation and Movement Science at the University of Vermont.

Study: Understanding and Treating Balance Impairment in Multiple Sclerosis, Susan L. Kasser, PhD, and Jesse V. Jacobs, PhD, Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management, published September 2014.