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Int J Sports Med. 2008 May;29(5):408-13. Epub 2007 Oct 24.

Physical fitness in postmenopausal women with fibromyalgia.

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  • 1Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.


The purpose of this study was to compare physical fitness and health-related quality-of-life between twenty-three postmenopausal women with fibromyalgia (age 58 +/- 3 years) and eleven healthy women (58 +/- 5 years). Aerobic fitness and isometric force of different muscle groups were measured. Functional performance was assessed by walking and stair-climbing times. Symptoms were assessed by visual analog scale and quality-of-life by RAND-36 questionnaire. Women with fibromyalgia had significantly lower isometric force in bilateral leg extensors (1285 vs. 1898 N), unilateral knee extensors (414 vs. 502 N) and flexors (197 vs. 235 N) than healthy women, but no differences were observed in forces of the trunk and upper extremities. Maximal workload in the aerobic test (130 vs. 151 W), functional performance and quality-of-life were lower in women with fibromyalgia and they reported more symptoms than healthy subjects, while maximal oxygen uptake did not differ between the groups. A lower maximal load in the aerobic test suggests the patients' unsatisfactory ability to stand physical loading and resist overall fatigue. Moreover, fatigue rather than pain was the main factor to decrease the quality-of-life in women with fibromyalgia. Additional efforts should be addressed to strength training, when planning health promotion and rehabilitation programs in fibromyalgia.

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