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Friday 28th October 2016

Exercise eases arthritis pain

22nd January 2008

Participation in a regular exercise programme can be beneficial to older people suffering arthritis pain, a study in the United States has shown.

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Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill followed the progress of 346 people, average age 70, with self-reported arthritis.

Some of them were enrolled on an exercise programme run by the US-based Arthritis Foundation, while a control group took no exercise.

After one group had done basic and advanced exercise classes for two hours a week over eight weeks, the groups were re-evaluated for the levels of pain and fatigue they were experiencing.

A significant improvement was reported in managing both pain and fatigue symptoms in the exercising group.

The benefits lasted up to six months after the exercise programme was finished, according to the study, which was published in Arthritis Care & Research.

The Arthritis Foundation Exercise Programme uses a series of range-of-motion and low-resistance exercises, but researchers found that people who completed the programme had also developed greater strength in their upper and lower extremities.

This would suggest that strength training, while it only formed a minor component of the overall programme, also had a beneficial effect. However, there was no increase noted in exercise endurance among the programme participants.

The study concluded that the basic eight-week Arthritis Foundation Exercise Programme was a safe programme for sedentary older individuals with arthritis, which would not exacerbate their symptoms.

But they called for further research to determine if greater benefits could be had by extending the programme for longer periods, or by increasing the frequency of weekly sessions.


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