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Effects of Lifestyle Physical Activity on Health Status, Pain, and Function in Adults with Fibromyalgia Syndrome

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By Kevin R. Fontaine and Steffany Haaz • • March 14, 2007

[Note: ‘Lifestyle physical activity’ programs typically involve a gradual buildup of self-selected, moderate intensity activities such as walking in a sedentary individual’s daily routine – by contrast with traditional ‘exercise’ programs.]

Journal: Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain. 2007. Vol. 15, # 1, pp. 3-9

Authors and affiliations. Fontaine KR, Haaz S. Division of Rheumatology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. [E-mail: ]


Objective: To test the effects of a lifestyle physical activity [LPA] program on health status, pain, fatigue, and function in adults with the Fibromyalgia syndrome [FMS].

Methods: Forty-eight sedentary adults with FMS were randomized to either LPA or a FMS education control [FME] group. The LPA participants gradually worked toward accumulating 30 minutes of self-selected moderate-intensity LPA, five to seven days per week. Thirty-four participants [71 percent] completed the study.

Results: The LPA group increased their physical activity by 70 percent, as assessed by pedometer. Seventy-one percent of participants randomized to LPA reported that their health status was improved, compared with 25 percent of the FME group [P = 0.013]. There were no statistically significant post-intervention differences between the LPA and FME groups in pain, fatigue, FMS impact, or six-minute walk distance.

Conclusion: The LPA group increased their physical activity and improved global ratings of FMS-related change. Lifestyle physical activity might be a new way to assist persons with FMS to become more physically active.

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