Lifestyle physical activity in persons with multiple sclerosis: The new kid on the MS block

Robert W. Motl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Supervised exercise training has substantial benefits for persons with multiple sclerosis (MS), yet 80% of those with MS do not meet recommended levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). This same problem persisted for decades in the general population of adults and prompted a paradigm shift away from "exercise training for fitness" toward "physical activity for health." The paradigm shift reflects a public health approach of promoting lifestyle physical activity through behavioral interventions that teach people the skills, techniques, and strategies based on established theories for modifying and self-regulating health behaviors. This paper describes: (a) the definitions of and difference between structured exercise training and lifestyle physical activity; (b) the importance and potential impact of the paradigm shift; (c) consequences of lifestyle physical activity in MS; and (d) behavioral interventions for changing lifestyle physical activity in MS. The paper introduces the "new kid on the MS block" with the hope that lifestyle physical activity might become an accepted partner alongside exercise training for inclusion in comprehensive MS care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1025-1029
Number of pages5
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Physical activity
  • exercise
  • lifestyle
  • multiple sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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