Arthritis is a leading cause of disability. But arthritis patients tend to be less fit. Either because they become lazy to exercise or they don’t want to exert an effort (like me!) to exercise or most exercise is too rigorous for them.
Now, studies have shown that arthritis patients can safely participate in exercise programs in order to increase their fitness, strength and psychosocial status and that health providers recommend that arthritis patients participate in exercise.
A new study evaluated the effects of the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, formerly called People with Arthritis Can Exercise (PACE) to promote managing arthritis through exercise.
Although pilot studies had shown that the program led to improvements for arthritis patients, this was the first randomized controlled trial to evaluate the program.
Led by Leigh F. Callahan, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, the study involved 346 patients with an average age of 70 who had self-reported arthritis.
The participants were divided into an intervention group that took part in the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, which consisted of exercise classes at basic and advanced levels that met twice a week for one hour for 8 weeks and a control group that was offered the program after 8 weeks.
The authors concluded that the findings indicate that the basic 8-week PACE (Arthritis Foundation Exercise) Program is a safe program for sedentary older individuals with arthritis to start exercising without exacerbating their symptoms. In fact the symptoms actually improved.
The results showed that the intervention group had significant improvements in pain, fatigue, and managing arthritis at 8 weeks and maintained improvements in pain and fatigue at 6 months.
Although the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program focuses mainly on range-of-motion and low-resistance exercises, a separate analysis found that those completing the program showed increased strength in their upper and lower extremities.
This indicates that strength training, one of the more minor components of the program, was effective. Exercise endurance did not increase, but this is not surprising given the nature of the Arthritis Foundation Exercise program.
The Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program is an exercise program designed specifically for people with arthritis that uses gentle activities to help with the condition without hurting the patients’ joints.
I wonder where one can go to enroll in such exercise program? Or maybe if you have a personal trainer you can ask him/her to put you in a similar program.
Find more details from Science Daily.