Cardiorespiratory demand of acute voluntary cycling with functional electrical stimulation in individuals with multiple sclerosis with severe mobility impairment

Academic Article


  • © 2018, Canadian Science Publishing. All rights reserved. Exercise training is one strategy for improving cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) in multiple sclerosis (MS); however, few modalities are accessible for those with severe mobility impairment. Functional electrical stimulation (FES) cycling is an adapted exercise modality with the potential for improving CRF in people with severe MS. The objective of this study was to characterize the cardiorespiratory response of acute voluntary cycling with FES in people with MS with severe mobility impairment, and to compare this response to passive leg cycling. Eleven participants with MS that required assistance for ambulation completed a single bout of voluntary cycling with FES or passive leg cycling. Oxygen consumption, heart rate (HR), work rate (WR), and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded throughout the session. For the FES group, mean exercising oxygen consumption was 8.7 ± 1.8 mL/(kg·min)-1, or 63.5% of peak oxygen consumption. Mean HR was 102 ± 9.7 bpm, approximately 76.4% of peak HR. Mean WR was 27.0 ± 9.2 W, or 57.3% of peak WR, and median RPE was 13.5 (interquartile range = 5.5). Active cycling with FES was significantly (p < 0.05) more intense than passive leg cycling based on oxygen consumption, HR, WR, and RPE during exercise. In conclusion, voluntary cycling with FES elicited an acute response that corresponded with moderate-to vigorous-intensity activity, suggesting that active cycling with FES can elicit a sufficient stimulus for improving CRF.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Edwards T; Motl RW; Pilutti LA
  • Start Page

  • 71
  • End Page

  • 76
  • Volume

  • 43
  • Issue

  • 1