June 30, 2010 — Cardiorespiratory aerobic exercise may be safe and modestly beneficial in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to the results of a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) reported in the July issue of Arthritis Care & Research.
“Several lines of evidence have emphasized an improvement in aerobic capacity and muscle strength after physical exercise programs in …RA patients,” write Athan Baillet, MS, from University of Grenoble Medical School in Grenoble, France, and colleagues.
Benefits associated with the exercise intervention included improved postintervention quality of life, better HAQ score, lower pain VAS scores and less radiologic damage.
“Cardiorespiratory aerobic conditioning in stable RA appears to be safe and improves some of the most important outcome measures,” the review authors write.
“Besides the positive effect of the intervention on patients’ psychological well-being, aerobic exercise should be considered as a safe therapy, the efficacy of which has been underestimated,” the review authors conclude.
Arthritis Care Res. 2010;62:984-992.
Dr. Tucker’s comment: In my experience in working with RA patients, the key to successful exercise therapy is training patients in low load body weight exercises – these are gentle repetitive movements. Proper training avoids overloading the joints and does not hurt. UltraInFlamX medical food shakes are part of the program when I work with RA patients.