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A Group Kickboxing Program for Balance, Mobility, and Quality of Life in Individuals With Multiple Sclerosis: A Pilot Study

Jackson, Kurt PT, PhD, GCS; Edginton-Bigelow, Kimberly PhD; Cooper, Christina PT, NCS; Merriman, Harold PT, PhD

Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy: September 2012 - Volume 36 - Issue 3 - p 131–137
doi: 10.1097/NPT.0b013e3182621eea
Research Articles

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.

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Doctor of Physical Therapy Program (K.J.,H.M.), Department of Health and Sports Science (K.J.,H.M.), Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (K.E.B.), University of Dayton; and Neurorehab and Balance Center (C.C.), Dayton, Ohio.

Correspondence: Kurt Jackson, PT, PhD, GCS, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, Department of Health and Sports Science, University of Dayton, 300 College Park, Dayton, OH 45469 (

Information from this article was presented as poster at the 1st Annual Multiple Sclerosis Gait and Balance Symposium in Portland Oregon on October 1, 2011.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

© 2012 Neurology Section, APTA