Impaired mobility in multiple sclerosis (MS) is associated with high-energy costs and effort when walking, gait abnormalities, poor endurance and fatigue. This repeated measures trial with blinded assessments investigated the effect of treadmill walking at an aerobic training intensity in 16 adults with MS. The intervention consisted of 12 sessions of up to 30 minutes treadmill training (TT), at 55-85% of age-predicted maximum heart rate. The primary outcome measure was walking effort, measured by oxygen consumption (mL/kg per metre), during treadmill walking at comfortable walking speed (CWS). Associated changes in gait parameters using the 'Gait-Rite' mat, 10-m time and 2-minute distance, and Fatigue Severity Scale were examined. Following training, oxygen consumption decreased at rest (P = 0.008), CWS increased (P = 0.002), and 10-m times (P = 0.032) and walking endurance (P = 0.020) increased. At increased CWS, oxygen consumption decreased (P = 0.020), with a decreased time spent in stance in the weaker leg (P = 0.034), and a greater stride distance with the stronger leg (P = 0.044). Reported fatigue levels remained the same. Aerobic TT presents the opportunity to alter a motor skill and reduce the effort of walking, whilst addressing cardiovascular de-conditioning, thereby, potentially reducing effort and fatigue for some people with MS.
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