What do studies tell us about the benefits of exercise?
The benefits of exercise for patients have been demonstrated in a variety of well-controlled studies.
One study evaluated the benefits of a regular program of strength training combined with aerobic activity for patients.
The study found that over a two-year period a regular strength training and aerobic exercise program resulted in significant improvements in muscle strength and physical functioning, without any negative effects on disease activity. Compared to a control group (which was also engaged in an exercise program combining range of motion exercises and regular aerobic activity), the group that combined strength training and aerobic activity had greater improvements in muscle strength, disease activity, and physical functioning, as well as significant improvements in bone mineral density measurements.
Benefits of regular exercise for patients
- Improved muscle strength and function
- Improved joint stability
- Increased endurance
- Improved physical function and performance
- Improved pain control
- Increased quality of life
- Improved bone health
Regular aerobic exercise (such as walking, swimming, supervised aerobic exercise classes, and cycling) has been shown to improve muscle function, the stability of joints, endurance, and physical functioning and performance. Additionally, aerobic exercise can result in improvements in pain control and overall quality of life for patients.
Weight training or resistance training may be particularly important because they have been shown to be useful in preventing bone loss.