Benefit of resistance exercises in RA patients

Taken from NRAS magazine: Spring 2012

Trials between exercises incorporating some resistance and exercises with no resistance were compared. (Resistance is simply putting a load on a muscle, making it move against a force. That force might be external, such as a weight,
or it might be internal, like another muscle in your body.)
In total 10 randomised controlled trials were selected covering 547 patients for inclusion in the study.
Measurements were taken before and after the exercises and included the health assessment questionnaire (HAQ), walking speed, pain on a visual analogue scale, joint count and grip strength.
The authors found that resistance exercise improved muscle strength, including grip strength versus ordinary exercises. It had a positive impact on the walking test. It also resulted in an improvement in the HAQ.
The authors conclude that resistance exercise in RA is safe and that the improvement in most outcomes was statistically significant and clinically relevant for RA disability.