New York: Exercise may not reduce a woman's risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) -- a demyelinating disease in which the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged, finds a study.
"We wanted to find out if exercise lowered the risk of developing MS in women. Our study did not provide evidence to support it," said Kassandra Munger, Researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, in a study published in the journal Neurology.
Researchers evaluated data on more than 193,000 women and followed for up to 20-years.
The women completed regular questionnaires about their physical activity and also about their activity as teens and young adults. During the study, 341 women developed MS.
Researchers calculated the total hours of physical activity per week, took into account the type of exercise for each woman and adjusted for age, ethnicity, smoking, supplemental vitamin D, place of residence at the age of 15 years and body mass index at age 18.
"Overall, there was no consistent association of exercise at any age and MS. Exercise has been shown to be beneficial to people with the disease, but it seems unlikely that exercise protects against the risk of developing MS," Munger added.