The Activity Matters project aims to develop a web and paper based resource for people with MS to enable them to become more active. It is a privately funded project with the collaboration of MS Ireland and the University of Limerick.
Research evidence suggests that physical activity really does matter for people with MS. Benefits of being physically active include, improved mobility, quality of life, fatigue and recent evidence suggests that those who are more physically active are at a reduced risk of relapse. Currently, people with MS are considered physically inactive. Providing a place where people with MS can access information and strategies about how to become more physically active is warranted in order to change current behaviour. The Activity Matters project aims to do just that.
The Activity Matter’s research team are currently piloting the 'Activity Matters' website for people with MS. Activity Matters consists of a 12 week online education and exercise programme. If you would like to take part we will send you a consent form that can be returned by post or email. Following this you will be sent a link to the website and your study code which you will use for the duration of the programme. Before commencing any exercise you will complete an online questionnaire about your health and your MS to ensure you meet the safety and eligibility criteria. Participants will be asked to complete some questionnaires about your MS symptoms and your physical activity. You will also complete questionnaires that measure the factors associated with activity that we are aiming to change, for example your beliefs about exercise and your ability to set goals. You will then log onto the website once or twice each week for the next 12 weeks to take the activity matters exercise and education programme. The programme is designed to provide you with the information and tools required to set and achieve your own exercise goals, for example, you will choose your own exercise activity as part of the programme. Over the course of the programme you will receive three phone calls from the researchers to check in on your progress and answer any questions that you may have. If you choose to provide us with your e-mail address and mobile phone number on the consent form, we will contact you intermittently to prompt you to keep going or to provide coaching at certain times in the programme. Participants also have the option to join a closed Facebook group where you can chat with others taking part in the programme. Once you have completed the programme we will ask you if you would like to give us feedback on the website by completing a short, phone based interview which will be recorded and analysed with those of other participants.
Additionally, the MS research team are always looking for feedback on the project’s content (web text, video footage and paper based text content). If you want to share your opinion on the project and any ideas you might have to improve the same, be sure to contact the research team.
Prof Susan Coote, associate professor/course director MSc Physiotherapy in Clinical Therapies in UL, is the principal investigator of the project. Dr Bláthín Casey and Cillian McDowell, research assistant in UL, also make up the Activity Matters research team.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Activity Matter’s project or feel you can contribute in any way to it’s development, please contact either: Dr Susan Coote- firstname.lastname@example.org or Cillian McDowell- email@example.com
You can download the information leaflet and consent form for the study here.