Frequently Asked Questions

Who is funding the study?

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) funded the Shepherd Center as the coordinating research site to conduct the study.

Where are the participating research sites?

The Shepherd Center, Atlanta, GA

The University of Georgia, Athens, GA

The University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL

The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

The University of Colorado, Denver, CO

The Cleveland Clinic Mellen Center, Cleveland, OH


Can I choose where I want to do my exercise program?

If the computer randomly places you in the “choice” group, you can choose which exercise group you are placed in. Otherwise, the computer will select the group for you. Specifically, each participant is randomly placed into one of two groups by the computer, either:

  • Choice: you will get to decide where you want to exercise (in the facility or in your home or community), OR
  • Random: Then the computer will randomly place you into one of two groups:
    • Facility-based (you will exercise at the facility that recruits you)
    • Telerehab (you will exercise at home with support from coaches who are located at another site)


I am going on vacation, can I still participate?

If you are planning to be away for a week during the 16-week program, you can still participate. Your coach will give you options for exercising while you are away.

If you are planning to be away for longer than a week, we recommend you participate in the next group.


I don’t live near a research site, can I participate in the telerehab exercise program?

Participation in the study requires that you visit a research site for all tests for the study. Participation also requires that you can exercise at a research site in case you are randomly placed in the facility-based group. If you do not live near a research site, please read the Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults with MS to learn how you can safely exercise.


What are the Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults with MS?

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults with MS outline how a person with MS can safely, appropriately, and effectively engage in physical activity. They are appropriate for adults aged 18-64 years with minimal to moderate disability resulting from either relapsing-remitting or progressive forms of MS. The guidelines, which call for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and strength training for major muscle groups twice a week, can improve fitness and mobility, reduce fatigue, and enhance quality of life in adults with MS.


What is a behavioral intervention?

A behavioral intervention is a treatment or program, such as the one for this STEP for MS study, that is designed to affect the actions that people take regarding their health. For example, in this study, the intervention is an exercise program that provides you with a calendar and exercise logbook to help you get into the habit of planning and keeping track of your exercise habits.


What COVID-19-related precautions are being taken by the STEP for MS study?

The STEP for MS research sites are starting to open for in-person STEP for MS recruitment and training. The safety of our study participants and staff is our highest priority during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Safety procedures will vary slightly at each site but may include: temperature checks, wearing a mask, distancing from other people, and cleaning equipment in between participants.

If you are interested in participating in this trial and have any questions, please contact the research coordinator at the site you would go to to participate. 

Staying safe during the pandemic:

Exercise remains an important part of looking after yourself. In general, follow the guidelines in your community for being safe during this pandemic.

You may wish to read the guidance from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society regarding COVID-19.