Some of the latest research has provided evidence once again that exercise can improve both the mood and physical function of people with Fibromyalgia. Over the years there have been several studies that have shown that exercise can be helpful to Fibromyalgia patients. But few researchers have studied the continued effects of physical activity beyond the conclusion of the trial periods.
According to an article published in Arthritis and Rheumatism, it was reported that significant improvements can be seen in patients for at least one year after a controlled exercise program has ended.
The study began with a randomized controlled trial of the effects of aerobic exercise during a 23-week period. Thirty-seven participants took part in 30-minute exercise classes three times a week. Once the classes ended, researchers had no contact with the subjects, except for follow-up testing conducted six and 12 months later. Both six-minute walk tests and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) scores were improved significantly at the end of the 23-week class. More surprisingly, the improvements also were seen at the six- and 12-month follow-ups.
The study authors reported that the improvements seen in Fibromyalgia patients during the six-minute walk programs were most likely due to the patients continuing their exercise program faithfully.
Most gains made from cardiovascular fitness are lost within four weeks if the activity is stopped. In this study, 50 percent of the participants still were exercising more than 90 minutes a week at the 12-month follow-up.
The relationship between exercise and mood was not as clear to the researchers, however. They found that mood improvements at both the six-month and 12-month followups were similar. It was the six-month followups where mood could be related to the duration of exercise. The researchers said it is possible that ongoing exercise might not be necessary to maintain the increase in positive moods.
Even though this study was based on a small clinical sample, the authors argued that their work provided more compelling evidence that exercise is very beneficial to individuals with Fibromyalgia.
Continued exercise not only improves physical strength and function but may also play a role in elevating depression.