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J Aging Res. 2011 Feb 13;2011:681640. doi: 10.4061/2011/681640.

Benefits of exercise in rheumatoid arthritis.

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1
School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences, Bangor University, George Building, Holyhead Road, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2PZ, UK.

Abstract

This paper aims to highlight the importance of exercise in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and to demonstrate the multitude of beneficial effects that properly designed exercise training has in this population. RA is a chronic, systemic, autoimmune disease characterised by decrements to joint health including joint pain and inflammation, fatigue, increased incidence and progression of cardiovascular disease, and accelerated loss of muscle mass, that is, "rheumatoid cachexia". These factors contribute to functional limitation, disability, comorbidities, and reduced quality of life. Exercise training for RA patients has been shown to be efficacious in reversing cachexia and substantially improving function without exacerbating disease activity and is likely to reduce cardiovascular risk. Thus, all RA patients should be encouraged to include aerobic and resistance exercise training as part of routine care. Understanding the perceptions of RA patients and health professionals to exercise is key to patients initiating and adhering to effective exercise training.

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