The risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) in women may not be reduced with regular exercise, according to latest research findings. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers, but no benefits were seen protecting against multiple sclerosis.
Previously, it was believed that regular exercise could help reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis, but the new findings do not add any evidence to this notion.
The researchers tracked over 193,000 American women for up to 20 years. These women filled out questionnaires about their physical activity. The researchers then calculated how many hours the women spent exercising a week.
Over the course of the study, 341 women developed multiple sclerosis. After accounting for other risk factors that could contribute to multiple sclerosis, the researchers did not find evidence that exercise lowers the risk of the disease.
Study author Kassandra Munger said, “Overall, there was no consistent association of exercise at any age and MS. Exercise has been shown to be beneficial to people with the disease, but it seems unlikely that exercise protects against the risk of developing MS.”
Although the findings did not support the premise that exercise reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis, other experts still suggest that regular physical activity is still important in fighting the disease.
Dr. Paul Wright, chair of neurology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, added, “While this study did not show overall prevention in MS, many studies have shown that moderate exercise reduces MS symptoms and relapses.”
Neurologist Dr. Leslie Saland said, “…studies have confirmed that exercising has countless benefits, ranging from improving cognition and mood to increasing strength and balance in MS patients.”
So although exercise may not reduce your risk of multiple sclerosis, it’s still important for those with the condition to improve outcomes and reduce the risk of other health complications.