Strength Exercise May Slow ALS Progression

by Joy Keller on Oct 01, 2007

Making News

A small study published in the June 5 issue of Neurology (2007; 68, 2003–2007) found that individual strength training programs should be designed for people with early-stage ALS to allow them to maintain their independence and function for as long as possible. ALS, also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disease that causes muscles to weaken and eventually deteriorate.

Researchers randomly divided 27 people with early-stage ALS into two groups. All participants were assigned a daily stretching routine, standard for people with ALS. In addition, therapists guided 13 participants through moderate strengthening exercises using weights three times a week. Therapists chose the resistance based on individual abilities. Researchers regularly assessed participants’ function, fatigue and overall quality of life over 6 months. Eight people in the strengthening group and 10 in the stretching group completed the study. The results: those who performed moderate resistance training had a 12% slower decrease in function and a 16% slower decline in quality of life during the 6 months than those who did the stretching exercises alone.

“Even though exercise might not ultimately affect the progression of ALS, exercise may improve function, increase muscle strength for a period of time and prevent the effects of disuse,” said study author Vanina Dal Bello-Haas, PT, PhD, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, in a press release. Dal Bello-Haas acknowledged that the study group wassmall and said more research was needed.

Want more from Joy Keller?

Fitness Journal, Volume 4, Issue 9

Find the Perfect Job

More jobs, more applicants and more visits than any other fitness industry job board.

© 2007 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Joy Keller

Joy Keller IDEA Author/Presenter

Joy Keller is executive editor of IDEA Fitness Journal and IDEA Fit Business Success, and is also a certified personal trainer, indoor cycling instructor, yoga teacher (RYT 200) and Reiki Master. Joy joined IDEA Health & Fitness Association in 2002, and brought with her a wealth of information about how to fine-tune communication channels, after having spent her formative career years specializing in business-to-business journalism. Before she even graduated with honors from the respected University of Georgia journalism school, Joy was offered a job at one of the most successful trade publishing companies in the southeast, Shore Varrone, Inc. She made her mark in the automotive aftermarket industry as a creative thinker and journalist with an intuitive knack for researching and understanding niche audiences. Joy has worked on several titles, including Auto Trim & Restyling News, Truck Accessory News, Digital Output Magazine, Retail & Construction News, Miata magazine, Ford Racing, and many more. Her passion, however, lies with health and fitness. She was the associate editor of ACE Certified News while working at the American Council on Exercise, and transitioned that publication from a newsletter to a magazine. She has enjoyed 17 years at IDEA, where she has launched several publications, including the award-winning Inner IDEA Body-Mind Spirit Review, IDEA Pilates Today and IDEA Fit Business Success. Joy is a content creator and media 2.0 advocate who takes pride in discovering the unique information needs of qualified audiences, and she is dedicated to serving those needs while following the highest available standards.