The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on physical activity and associated technology use in persons with multiple sclerosis: an international RIMS-SIG Mobility survey study.
Moumdjian, Lousin; orcid: 0000-0003-4973-5190
Arntzen, Ellen Christin
van der Linden, Marietta L
Yazgan, Yonca Zenginler
MetadataShow full item record
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Objective To investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on physical activity (PA) in persons with multiple sclerosis (PwMS). Design and Setting A multi-centre international online survey study was conducted within 11 participating countries. Each country launched the survey using online platforms from May to July 2021. Participants This was an electronic survey study targeting PwMS. Intervention Not applicable. Outcome measures The survey ascertained PA performance and its intensity, the nature of the activities conducted and the use of technology to support home-based physical activity before and during the pandemic. Results 3725 respondents completed the survey. Pre-pandemic, the majority (83%) of respondents reported being physically active, and this decreased to 75% during the pandemic. This change was significant for moderate and high intensity activity (p<.0001). Activities carried out in physiotherapy centres, gyms or pools decreased the most. Walking was the most frequently performed activity pre-pandemic (27%) and increased during the pandemic (33%). 24% of those inactive during the pandemic had no intention of changing their PA behaviour post-pandemic. 58% of the respondents did not use technology to support PA during the pandemic. Of those who did use technology, wearables were most used (24%). Of those currently non-active (25%) expressed a preference for an in-person format to conduct PA post-pandemic. Conclusion PA performance, especially activities at moderate and high intensities, decreased during the pandemic in PwMS compared to pre-pandemic. Walking and using wearables gained popularity to stay active. As we move towards an endemic-COVID-19, a call for action to develop interventions focused on walking programmes, with specific emphasis on increasing PA of persons with MS is proposed.