Spinning for 35 minutes twice a week was shown to benefit women with arthritis in a small study. Photo by Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock
TRONDHEIM, Norway, July 29 (UPI) -- "Hard" physical training twice a week can help arthritis patients experience less pain and inflammation, as well as a small drop in BMI, according to a new study.
Arthritis is a chronic illness causing inflammation of the joints that over time leads to weakness and loss of movement.
Doctors have long recommended that people at risk for arthritis stay physically fit and active, and many studies show that high-intensity workouts can increase endurance, however no studies had been done on the effect of such workouts with arthritis patients.
"Previously, studies have showed that moderate intensity work-out sessions can help improve endurance without inducing pain or inflammation, or damaging joints," said Anja Bye, a researcher at the K. G. Jebsen Centre for Exercise in Medicine at Norwegian University of Science and Technology, in a press release. "This is why it is especially important for arthritis patients to keep fit and work on their cardiovascular endurance."
Researchers enrolled 18 women between the ages of 20 and 49 for twice-weekly workouts on a spinning bike. The women warmed up for 10 minutes at about 70 percent of their maximum pulse before doing 4 repetitions of four-minute high-intensity intervals at 85 to 95 percent of maximum pulse. The break between each 4-minute interval was 3 minutes, with the participants returning to 70 percent of max pulse during that time.
The women in the study showed a 12.2 percent increase in their body's oxygen uptake and a 2.9 percent improvement in heart rate recovery, as well as a 1.2 percent drop in BMI, 1 percent decrease in body fat and 1.6 percent decrease in waist circumference. There also was no detected or reported increase in arthritis activity or pain.
"Rather, we saw a tendency for there to be less inflammation, at least as measured by the inflammation marker CRP, and the participants of the study experienced a solid increase maximum oxygen intake, meaning that they reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease," Bye said. "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 study is published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology. .