Effects of a Single Bout of Aquatic Exercise on Mood in Multiple Sclerosis: A Pilot Study

Helen Genova, Rosalia Dacosta-Aguayo, Yael Goverover, Angela Smith, Chris Bober, John DeLuca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Physical activity is known to be an effective way of managing multiple sclerosis (MS)–related symptoms. Furthermore, it has been reported that even a single bout of physical activity can yield improvements in mood in persons with MS. Aquatic exercise can be an effective and enjoyable physical activity in persons with MS. However, there is little research on the immediate effects of aquatic exercise on mood in people with MS. Thus, we assessed the acute effects of a single bout of aquatic exercise on mood. Methods: Eight adults with MS participated in a 45-minute aquatic exercise class as well as 45 minutes of a seated rest control condition. The Profile of Mood States questionnaire was given before and after each condition (rest and aquatic exercise). Repeated-measures analysis of variance and paired-samples t tests were used to examine whether aquatic exercise resulted in improvement in mood. Due to the small sample size, effect sizes were considered. Results: Moderate-to-large effect sizes indicated a condition × time interaction such that mood increased and fatigue decreased after a single bout of aquatic exercise compared with after rest. Conclusions: This proof-of-concept study suggests that mood symptoms are improved immediately after a short bout of aquatic exercise. Future research is needed to explore whether these effects are reliable and whether they can be sustained with more frequent bouts of aquatic exercise. Int J MS Care. 2020;22: 173-177.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-177
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of MS Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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