Interval training good for arthritis

(30/07/2015) It is already known that people with arthritis should continue to exercise as this can help the painful condition. However, a pilot study has found that those affected should consider high-intensity interval training as part of their workout routine.

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints that can cause pain and immobility. As a result, some people may shy away from exercise, worrying that it will worsen their condition.

However, it is now widely acknowledged that exercise can help, so researchers in Norway set out to assess the impact of high-intensity interval training.

Interval training involves alternating periods of high and low-intensity activity within a single workout.

“Previously, studies have showed that moderate intensity work-out sessions can help improve endurance without inducing pain or inflammation, or damaging joints. We wanted to see if patients with arthritis could handle high-intensity training and see the same positive effects,” they explained.

The pilot study followed the progress of 18 women with arthritis, who were aged between 20 and 49 years. All underwent a 10-week high-intensity interval training programme. Each training session lasted about 35 minutes and included four repetitions of high-intensity exercise on a spinning bike. There were two exercise sessions a week.

The researchers found no adverse effects on the participants.

“Rather, we saw a tendency for there to be less inflammation and the participants of the study experienced a solid increase maximum oxygen intake, meaning that they reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease,” they explained.

The women also recorded small reductions in their body mass index (BMI), waist measurements and body fat levels. Their muscle mass also increased.

“The women who participated in the study found this to be a good, effective method of training, and are mostly very motivated to continue because of the progress they’ve seen,” the researchers noted.

While this is a small study, the team believes that it may be a good idea to change the training programmes that are currently recommended to some people with arthritis, to include interval training.

Details of these findings are published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology.

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