High-intensity exercise workouts have been found to help ease arthritic pain and inflammation.
In new research conducted by sports scientists with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, women with arthritis who participated in such workouts twice a week for 12 weeks reported far less pain than before beginning the training.
High-intensity training — HIT, for short — involves alternating intervals of low-to-moderately intense exercise with short bursts of all-out sprinting.
For the new study, published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, 18 women warmed up for 10 minutes on a stationary spinning bike — bringing their heart rate to 70 percent of their maximum capacity. Then then did four repetitions of high intensity exercise (85-95 percent of maximum pulse) at four-minute intervals, separated by three-minute periods of rest. The total workout session lasted about 35 minutes.
After 10 weeks of hard training, the women had less inflammation and pain, and also lost weight and gained muscle mass, without any adverse effects.
"Previously, studies have showed that moderate intensity workout 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- Cardiac Exercise Research Group at NTNU. “We wanted to see if patients with arthritis could handle high intensity training and see the same positive effects.
“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."
Arthritis affects about one percent of the population, and about three times as many women as men.
"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," Bye said.
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