Weight control and physical exercise in people with multiple sclerosis: Current knowledge and future perspectives

Motahare Mokhtarzade, Hamid Agha-Alinejad, Robert W. Motl, Raoof Negaresh, Julien S. Baker, Philipp Zimmer

Publication: Contribution to journalJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


There is extensive data supporting a high prevalence of both overweight and obesity status in people with multiple sclerosis, and increases in body mass index has been associated with an increased risk of multiple sclerosis. Body composition may influence the course, treatment and management of multiple sclerosis. One proposed strategy for managing overweight and obesity status and associated secondary effects in people with multiple sclerosis involves increasing the levels of physical activity. In fact, increased levels of physical activity affect various physiological (endurance capacity, strength, balance) and biological processes (fat oxidation, insulin sensitivity, anti-inflammation, neurotrophic factors) which are known to be dysfunctional in multiple sclerosis and which may worsen with increases in obesity. When designing personalized exercise programs it should be kept in mind that current exercise recommendations for people with multiple sclerosis should exceed energy expenditure recommendations to efficiently counteract weight gain. Therefore, it is necessary to consider body composition as a primary endpoint in experimental studies. In addition, designing guidelines for weight control or weight loss in people MS is needed. The most comprehensive weight management guidelines are outlined in the American College of Sports Medicine Position Statement, which recommends between 150–250 min per week of moderate-intensity physical activity for preventing weight gain, and between 225–420 min per week of moderate-intensity physical activity for weight loss. These recommendations seem applicable for people with multiple sclerosis.
Original languageEnglish
JournalComplementary Therapies in Medicine
Pages (from-to)240-246
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 01.04.2019