Individualised aerobic & resistance exercise improves CRF

Taken from NRAS magazine, Spring 2013

Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is defined as the ability of your body to transport oxygen to your muscles during prolonged exercise and the ability of your muscles to absorb and use oxygen while you are exercising.  This is something that can be measured and if your level of CRF is deemed to be low then this can be a predictor of possible cardiovascular disease (CVD). This study looked at what could be done to improve CRF and the effect this would have on CVD risk in those with RA.

40 RA patients matched for age, gender, body mass index and RA disease duration were allocated to either an exercise group in which participants received six months individualised aerobic and resistance high intensity exercises, three times per week; or  they were placed in a control group in which they received advice on exercise benefits and lifestyle changes.  Participants were assessed on a range of factors including their individual CVD risk at the beginning of the study and then at three and six months.

At the beginning of the study there were no differences between the groups.  Across all the factors assessed at 6 months there were significant improvements in the exercise group, especially in the measure for CRF.

The authors conclude that individualised aerobic and resistance exercise interventions can lead to significantly improved CRF and also to the individual CVD risk factors such as blood pressure, lipids, insulin resistance, body composition, composite CVD risk, and disease activity and severity in RA patients.