Interventions for promoting physical activity in people with neuromuscular disease

In this review, the authors consider the effects of activity-promoting interventions on physical activity and well-being in studies, as well as any adverse events experienced by participants living with inherited or acquired neuromuscular diseases. 

Physical inactivity is one of the main risk factors for non-communicable disease mortality. Observational studies have shown that people with particular types of neuromuscular diseases are less physically active than apparently healthy controls, and have higher perceived barriers to becoming physically active.

For the Cochrane authors, it has been impossible to perform a meta-analysis for any comparison because of differences in interventions.

The review includes 13 studies of different interventions to promote physical activity.

No study involved children or adolescents, and nine studies reported minimal entry criteria for walking. The authors also found a considerable variation in how studies report the physical activity as an outcome measure because there is no uniformity. Due to, fortunately, a not-high incidence of neuromuscular diseases and the very high heterogeneity of them, there are few studies that include people with this condition. Therefore, in addressing the review question, the authors found fundamental evidence gaps for physical activity promotion among people living with neuromuscular disease. Also, there was variation in the components of supported activity intervention and usual care.

Because of the heterogeneity, the authors remain unclear about the effectiveness of physical activity-promoting intervention specifically in people with neuromuscular disease. They found a lack of evidence relating to children, adolescents, and non-ambulant people of any age. They identified variation among studies in how physical activity was monitored, analyzed, and reported, and they remain uncertain of the effectiveness of promotional intervention for physical activity and its impact on quality of life. Although studies reported adverse events incompletely, they found no evidence that supported activity increases the risk of serious adverse events or adverse events leading to study discontinuation.

More information is needed on the neuromuscular disease population, as well as more complete reporting of outcomes. While there may be no single objective measure of physical activity and high heterogeneity in neuromuscular disease criteria, it may not be possible to draw conclusions.

MarÍa Soriano Micó