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Saturday 22nd October 2016

Weight lifting may help arthritis

5th August 2010

A study has shown that lifting weights may help people who have rheumatoid arthritis carry out everyday activities.

Old Hands

A study of 28 patients by Arthritis Research UK revealed that people who weight trained showed improvements in physical tasks like walking.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects the joints but also causes a massive decrease in muscle mass.

The researchers, from Bangor and Gwynned Hospital, said weight training, along with medication, could help to manage the condition. 

They divided the participants in the study into two section, the Arthritis Care and Research journal reported.

One group performed weight training exercises for six months, while the other group performed ordinary home-based exercises.

Strength went up by 120% in the group of participants who were weight training, with physical function improving by 20% to 30%.

Weight training increased levels of a protein and growth factor (IGF-1) which help muscles, cartilage and bone to grow.

Study leader Dr Andrew Lemmey said losing muscle contributed to the loss of physicality connected with arthritis.

"Lifting, carrying, walking, climbing stairs are impaired. It is logical that if you can restore muscle, that strength and consequently functional capacity will also be restored. And this is what we have found."

He said the participants in the study, of whom the majority were females aged around 50 and had suffered from arthritis for up to ten years, showed a good response to the treatment.

"In fact, the improvements in function were so significant that following training these patients with established RA were performing as well as or better than healthy individuals of the same age and sex", he added.


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