Abstract

Background: Activity pacing is a behavioral strategy for coping with fatigue, optimizing physical activity (PA) levels, and achieving a paced approach to lifestyle and sustainable self-regulated exercise practice to optimize health and well-being. Yet little is known about how activity pacing affects PA and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) while controlling for fatigue and demographic characteristics over time in adults with multiple sclerosis (MS). This study examined the natural use of activity pacing and how it is associated with PA and HRQOL over time in adults with MS.

Methods: Sixty-eight adults with MS (mean ± SD age, 45.2 ± 10.9 years) completed questionnaires on their activity pacing, fatigue, PA, and HRQOL 14, 33, and 52 weeks after rehabilitation. Associations between the variables were examined using multilevel models.

Results: No associations were found between activity pacing and PA (β = −0.01, P = .89) or between activity pacing and HRQOL (β = −0.15, P = .09).

Conclusions: This study provides an initial understanding of how activity pacing relates to PA and HRQOL in people with MS over time and indicates that there is no clear strategy among adults with MS that is successful in improving PA and HRQOL in the short- or long-term. Persons with MS may benefit from goal-directed activity pacing interventions to improve longitudinal engagement in PA, and the present study provides a foundation for further intervention development.

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