Bilberg (2005) Moderately intensive exercise in a temperate pool for patients with rheumatoid arthritis- a randomized controlled study.

Introduction to Pool Exercise and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic condition characterized by inflammation in the joints, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Exercise, including pool-based activities, has been considered beneficial for RA patients due to the buoyant properties of water, which reduce joint stress while allowing for physical activity.

Study Objective and Methods

The study aimed to evaluate the effects of moderately intensive pool exercise on patients with RA. Forty-six patients were randomized into a treatment group, which participated in pool exercises twice a week for 12 weeks, and a control group that continued with their usual activities. The primary outcomes measured were aerobic capacity and the physical component of the SF-36 health survey, with secondary outcomes including muscle endurance tests.

Results and Observations

The study found no significant differences between the treatment and control groups in terms of aerobic capacity or the SF-36 physical component scores. However, the treatment group showed significant improvements in muscle endurance, including isometric shoulder endurance and dynamic endurance of lower extremities. Improvements in vitality and muscle function were also noted, with benefits maintained for up to 3 months post-intervention.

Conclusions and Future Directions

Moderately intensive pool exercise was found to significantly improve muscle endurance in RA patients without affecting aerobic capacity. The study highlights the potential of aquatic exercises in managing RA symptoms and improving muscle function. However, the authors noted the need for larger-scale studies to further explore and confirm these findings.

Keywords: Rheumatoid arthritis, pool exercise, muscle endurance, aerobic capacity, quality of life.

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