MONDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- Aerobic cardio exercise is
safe for patients coping with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a new
French review of prior research suggests.
The study, published in the July issue of
Arthritis Care & Research, also found that regular exercise can lead to less joint pain, higher functioning and an improved quality of life overall for these patients.
"While past studies have indicated that RA patients are quite physically inactive, our study shows aerobic exercise to be a safe and beneficial intervention for this group. Further trials are needed to clearly determine the clinical impact of cardio-respiratory conditioning in the management of RA," lead author Dr. Athan Baillet, from the University of Grenoble Medical School in France, said in a news release from the journal's publisher.
Relative to healthy people, RA patients are two times more
likely to have health-driven limitations on the kinds of activities
they can engage in, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention.
The 1 percent of the global population that is struck by the
disease, which is characterized by swollen joints, pain, stiffness,
fatigue and a general sense of being unwell, are also 40 percent
more likely to say they are in fair or poor general health, the
World Health Organization has noted.
In the new report, researchers looked at 14 previous studies
that focused on RA patients and aerobic exercise.
Collectively, the studies included more than 1,000 patients,
evenly divided between those with RA and healthy participants, aged
44 to 68.
Those with RA had coped with the disease for up to 16 years, the
study authors noted.
"Our results show that patients with stable RA would benefit from regular aerobic exercise," Baillet said in a news release from the journal's publisher. "Cardio-respiratory conditioning appears safe and its effects, while small, help to reduce joint pain and improve function," Baillet added.
According to the American College of Rheumatology, people with
rheumatoid arthritis can benefit from exercise. In fact, the
organization recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity
aerobics, including walking, aerobic dance and water exercise.
For more on rheumatoid arthritis, visit the