There is much evidence supporting the safety and benefits of physical activity in adults with multiple sclerosis (MS) and recent evidence of beneficial effects on physical function in older adults with MS. However, there is very little known about physical activity participation in older adults with conditions such as MS. This study compared levels of physical activity (i.e., sedentary behavior, light physical activity (LPA), and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA)) and rates of meeting public health guidelines for MVPA (i.e., ≥30 min/day) among young (i.e., ages 20-39 years), middle-aged (i.e., ages 40-59 years) and older adults (i.e., ages ≥60 years) with MS. The sample included 963 persons with MS who provided demographic and clinical information and wore an accelerometer for a 7-day period. The primary analysis involved a between-subjects ANOVA on accelerometer variables (i.e., accelerometer wear time; number of valid days; sedentary behavior in min/day; LPA in min/day; and MVPA in min/day). Collectively, our data indicated that older adults with MS engaged in less MVPA and more sedentary behavior than middle-aged and young adults with MS. Such results highlight the importance of developing physical activity interventions as an effective means for managing the progression and consequences of MS in older adults.
Table 1 Demographic and clinical characteristics in 963 persons with MS by years of age (i.e., 20-39, 40-59, and ≥60)
Wear time, min/day
Number of valid days‡‽
Sedentary behavior, min/day†‡
Table 2 Accelerometer variables in 963 persons with MS by years of age (i.e., 20-39, 40-59, and ≥60)
Figure 1. Minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) among age groups of people with MS
† = p < .05 for Young vs. Middle-aged groups; ‡ = p < .05 for Young vs. Older age groups; ‽ = p < .05 for Middle-aged vs. Older age groups; Young = age of 20-39 years; Middle-aged = age of 40-59 years; Older = ages ≥60 years. Values represent mean score and standard error of the mean.
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