Background and Purpose: Balance and mobility impairments are common in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). The primary purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate the feasibility of a 5-week group kickboxing program and to measure changes in balance, mobility, and quality of life in individuals with MS associated with this training.
Methods: This single-group repeated-measures study involved a convenience sample of 15 individuals with MS who had minimal to moderate levels of disability and were recruited from the community. Eleven participants completed all phases of testing and training. The intervention was a 5-week group kickboxing program performed 3 times per week. Outcome measures were assessed 5 weeks prior to the intervention, 1 week prior to the intervention, and within 1 week of completing the intervention. Outcome measures include gait speed, Timed Up & Go test, Berg Balance Scale, Dynamic Gait Index, Mini-BESTest, Activities Specific Balance Confidence scale, and the Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life Survey.
Results: There were significant improvements in gait speed, some clinical measures of balance, and balance confidence following the intervention but no changes were observed in health-related quality of life. There were no unanticipated adverse events and compliance was high.
Conclusion: Group kickboxing appears to be a feasible exercise activity for individuals with MS that may lead to improvement in select measures of balance and mobility. However, the clinical relevance of these findings is yet to be determined. Further investigation of this novel intervention may be warranted.