Moderate-Vigorous Exercise Improves Long-Term Outcomes in Fibromyalgia


Moderate-vigorous physical activity improves long-term clinical outcomes without worsening pain in fibromyalgia.
– Source: Arthritis Care and Research, February 11, 2013

By A.S Kaleth, et al.


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the relationship between long-term maintenance of moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and clinical outcomes in fibromyalgia (FM).

METHODS: Patients with FM (n=170) received individualized exercise prescriptions and completed baseline and follow-up physical activity assessments using the Community Health Activities Model Program for Seniors (CHAMPS) questionnaire at weeks 12, 24, and 36. The primary outcome was the change in the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire-Physical Impairment (FIQ-PI) score. Secondary outcomes included improvements in overall well-being (FIQ-Total), pain severity ratings, and depression.

RESULTS: Using a threshold increase in MVPA of ?10 metabolic equivalent hours per week (MET h/wk) above usual activities,

  • 27 subjects (15.9%) increased and sustained (SUS-PA),

  • 68 (40%) increased, but then declined (UNSUS-PA),

  • and 75 (44.1%) did not achieve this benchmark (LO-PA).

 Compared to LO-PA subjects,

  • both SUS-PA and UNSUS-PA subjects reported greater improvement in FIQ-PI (p<0.01) and FIQ-Total (p<0.05).

  • Additionally, the SUS-PA group reported greater improvement in pain severity compared to the LO-PA group (p<0.05).

  • However, there were no significant group differences between SUS-PA and UNSUS-PA for any primary or secondary outcome measure.

CONCLUSION: Increased participation in MVPA for at least 12 weeks improves physical function and overall well-being in patients with FM.

Although sustained physical activity was not associated with greater clinical benefit compared to unsustained physical activity, these findings also suggest that performing greater volumes of physical activity is not associated with worsening pain in FM.

Future research is needed to determine the relationship between sustained MVPA participation and subsequent improvement in patient outcomes.

Source: Arthritis Care and Research, February 11, 2013. By A.S. Kaleth, C.K. Saha, M.P. Jensen, J.E. Slaven and D.C. Ang. Department of Kinesiology, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, IN, USA. E-mail:

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