Exercise and Physical Activity Programmes.

MS Ireland provides a number of evidence-based programmes that provide health promoting physical activity for people with MS. Primarily the research evidence comes from our collaboration with the MS Research Team at the University of Limerick. That collaboration and the evidence that it yields began in 2006 with the Getting the Balance Right programme and continues now with programmes like Better Balance and Step it Up.

Getting the Balance Right

The Getting the Balance Right project delivered physiotherapy programmes to nearly 2000 people living with MS over its two-year course (2005-6). Getting the Balance Right physiotherapy and physical activity programmes continue to be delivered by MS Ireland today and their content has evolved in light of the ever-changing evidence for the benefits of exercise for people with MS.

What was unique about that programme was that we grouped people according to ability and mobility levels and provided treatments by physiotherapists, fitness instructors and yoga instructors that were delivered in the community.

The evidence suggest that not only are these programmes beneficial for strength, balance and for reducing MS impact and fatigue, but that they also have significant psychological benefits and that being part of a group of people “in the same boat” helps with both peer learning and social support.

These programmes continue to be run around the country in all of our regions led by a team of physios, yoga instructors and fitness instructors. Our audit data for 2021 continues to provide evidence for their effectiveness in reducing symptom severity, improving quality of life, keeping people well and preventing further disability.

Contact your Regional Office or see our Services Page for more information.

For our Western regional service click HERE 

To read the research behind these programmes, see below:




Active Neuro

The successful Sláintecare Integration Fund Project, Active Neuro, employed an integrated care approach to delivering health promoting physical activity programmes for adults with neurological conditions in the community in the mid-west region. Research data on this programme has been used to improve the programmes further, and to lobby for statutory funding of our services.

What is unique about Active Neuro is that it is open to people with any neurological condition – working together with other charities and with the HSE means that we are “stronger together” and can share knowledge, skills and evidence to further improve programmes. It also uses a specialist physiotherapy team who combine exercise and education to deliver programmes. Better Balance is a falls prevention programme delivered at UL that combines strength and balance exercise with falls analysis and falls management techniques. Step it Up brings people from “couch to exercise guideline” by coaching people to recognise the benefits of exercise, set goals, record their progress and ultimately continue to be active after the programme ends.

The evidence suggest that these programmes maintain and improve symptoms like fatigue, strength and balance, and that people who take part in our programmes use the healthcare services less. Of note these programmes halved the number of people falling and the number of falls they had.

To register your interest in this programme, click HERE 

Move Smart MS

Move Smart MS is MS Ireland’s new national programme which offers specialised, tailored, exercise programmes online for people with MS. We have learned that by moving our physiotherapy and exercise programmes online that the barriers of transport, travel time and accessibility are removed and feedback from 2020-2022 has been overwhelmingly positive. By recruiting nationally, rather than locally, we can bring together groups of people with MS at a similar stage of their MS and deliver symptom-specific programmes.

Move Smart MS symptom management programmes include, Newly Diagnosed, High Level Fitness, Better Balance, Step it Up, Strength and Balance, Seated Fitness, Core Strength and Continence, and will be further developed to meet the needs of the MS community.

The combination of specialist physiotherapists, really homogenous groups, very tailored exercise and education content has led to very positive outcomes. Our research data found that the percentage improvements in symptoms, mental health and MS impact are much greater with this service that with our Getting the Balance Right programmes, which typically involve people grouped because they live in a certain area, rather than grouped by symptom, by ability or by time since diagnosis.

To register your interest in this programme, click HERE