Arthritis is a musculoskeletal condition that causes the cushion layer between the bones or cartilage to wear away, resulting in inflammation of one or more joints. This joint disorder is characterized by chronic joint pain, swelling, stiffness and restriction of movement. Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that about 52.5 million adults in the U.S. are affected by arthritis. The prominent causes associated with this joint condition include genetics, age, and excessive body weight and infection or injury to the joints. The treatment modalities for this condition depend on the location and severity of symptoms and how it affects a patient’s day-to-day life.
A new study has found that patients with arthritis may benefit from high-intensity exercise or workouts. High-intensity training (HIT) involves alternating intervals of low to moderately intense exercise with short bursts of all-out sprinting.
The research, conducted by sports scientists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, found that women with arthritis who participated in vigorous workouts twice a week for 12 weeks reported far less pain than before starting the training. The results of the study were published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology.
The participants were 18 women (aged between 20- 49 years) with rheumatoid arthritis or adult juvenile idiopathic arthritis who followed a ten-week programme of high intensity interval training (HIT). The training program started with a 10 minutes warm up session on a stationary spinning bike – bringing their heart rate up to 70 percent of their maximum capacity. This was followed by four repetitions of high-intensity (85-95 percent of max pulse) at four minute intervals. The rest time between each interval was about 3 minutes, at 70 percent of max pulse. The total work-out time was about 35 minutes.
After 10 weeks of rigorous high-intensity exercise, the participants did not show any adverse effects. They experienced many benefits including a small reduction in BMI, body fat percentage and waist measurement as well as an increase in muscle mass and less inflammation. They also experienced a significant increase in oxygen intake which reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease.
The researchers concluded that monitored sessions of resistance training adhered to on a regular basis can help arthritis patients build muscle tone, lose fat and improve function.