Copenhagen, Denmark, Thursday 11 June 2009: Undertaking a supervised exercise programme can have beneficial effects on functional status and physical function, reduce the need for daily corticosteroid and anti-inflammatory intake and improve levels of depression and anxiety in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a new study presented today at EULAR 2009, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Copenhagen, Denmark.
A three-month programme, comprising moderate aerobic and strengthening exercises, conducted for 50-60 minutes three times per week, proved not only to be safe and beneficial both physically and in terms of quality of life for patients, but was also associated with a stabilising effect in disease activity measured by DAS28*. During the Portuguese study's three month period, researchers observed the following:
- A 33% improvement in the HAQ (Health Assessment Questionnaire) disability index measurement of physical functioning (assessing ability to undertake everyday activities such as dressing, eating and walking, and whether assistance from another person or disability aids is required) (p <>
- An improvement in physical function, as outlined below:
- 55% improvement in the 'sit and stand' test (p=0.018)
- 10% improvement in the right-hand grip test (p=0.025) and 15% in the left-hand grip test (p=0.035)
- 19% improvement in the walk time test (p=0.063)