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Effects of a group activity program for fibromyalgia patients on physical fitness and well being
Verstappen FTJ, van Santen-Hoeuftt HMS, Bolwijn PH, van der Linden S, Kuipers H
Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain 1997;5(4):17-28
clinical trial
4/10 [Eligibility criteria: Yes; Random allocation: Yes; Concealed allocation: No; Baseline comparability: No; Blind subjects: No; Blind therapists: No; Blind assessors: Yes; Adequate follow-up: No; Intention-to-treat analysis: No; Between-group comparisons: Yes; Point estimates and variability: Yes. Note: Eligibility criteria item does not contribute to total score] *This score has been confirmed*

OBJECTIVES: The goals of this study were to determine the effects of an exercise program on physical fitness and perceived benefits among fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) patients. METHODS: Patients were randomly assigned (ratio 2:1, anticipating dropout) to a fitness intervention (FI, n = 58) group or a nonintervention (NI, n = 27) group. In both groups, physical fitness (maximal power output, muscular strength/endurance, flexibility, coordination) and body composition were measured before and after the six-month observation period. The FI-group underwent a fitness program two times per week for six months while the NI-group continued their usual activity undirected. Benefits perceived by the FI-group were assessed six months after finishing the study. RESULTS: The dropout rate among the FI group was lower than expected (45 of 58 completed), while 27 of 29 in the NI-group completed. Despite randomization, completing FI-group subjects were older than the NI-group (mean ages 47 +/- 8 versus 42 +/- 8 years). The NI-group exhibited a decrease in peak power output and peak heart rate during the study period. Surprisingly, the same was true for the FI-group where the mean peak power output declined from 233 +/- 28 Watts to 112 +/- 23 Watts and the mean peak heart rate declined from 153 +/- 20 to 145 +/- 17. Most of the FI-group subjects (83%) perceived benefits (physical, social) from the exercise program and continued it at their own expense. CONCLUISONS: The fitness program failed to improve the apparent physical fitness in the FMS patient participants but the majority believed they had benefited and elected to continue it.
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