Twice-Weekly Moves Can Ease Arthritis Pain, Fatigue

Study finds group workouts pay quick, lasting dividends for even older, sedentary participants.

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In eight-week group exercise program in which participants meet twice weekly for one hour reportedly reduces the pain of arthritis and helps older adults better manage their arthritis symptoms. According to research published in Arthritis Care & Research, the program-called the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program-comprised 346 arthritis patients, average age 70, who underwent a series of exercises designed to increase joint flexibility, range of motion, and muscle strength. The program was the first randomized controlled trial to show that exercise is effective in combating arthritis symptoms. The program, which is offered at basic and advanced levels through local branches of the Arthritis Foundation (visit www.arthritis.org to find your local chapter), includes exercises that can be done while sitting, standing, lying, as well as in a wheelchair. Those who took part in the program showed improvements in pain, fatigue, upper and lower body strength, and arthritis symptoms at eight weeks. Additionally, improvements in pain and fatigue also were maintained at six months.
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