ExerciseRheumatoid Diseases

Problem of physical inactivity in adults with rheumatoid arthritis

Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago Illinois, studied the impact of this modifiable risk factor.

First, the details.

  • 176 adults with rheumatoid arthritis were studied to assess the effectiveness of promoting physical activity.
  • Patients were assessed for inactivity (sustained 10-minute periods of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity during a week of surveillance).
  • The relationships between modifiable risk factors (motivation for physical activity, beliefs related to physical activity, obesity, pain, mental health) with inactivity were assessed with regard to age, gender, race, education, disease duration, and co-morbidity.

And, the results.

  • 42% of adults with rheumatoid arthritis were inactive.
  • Factors most strongly related to inactivity:
    • Lack of strong motivation for physical activity
    • Lack of strong beliefs related to physical activity
  • Together, these two factors are related to almost 65% excess inactivity in this group.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “These results support development of interventions that increase motivation for physical activity, and… stronger beliefs related to physical activity’s benefits should be considered in public health initiatives to reduce the prevalence of physical inactivity in adults with rheumatoid arthritis.

The American College of Rheumatology suggests certain goals in managing rheumatoid arthritis. They are reducing pain and stiffness, preventing or controlling joint damage, and maintaining joint function. Remedies and approaches that help with these goals include physical and occupational therapy, and exercise, as well as medications.

2/5/12 20:50 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.