Because 2 in 5 adults (42%) with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are inactive, public health initiatives need to address the lack of motivation to exercise and promote the benefits of physical activity in this population, say authors of an article published online in Arthritis Care & Research.
The researchers analyzed data on 176 patients with RA, 18 years of age or older, enrolled in a randomized controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of an intervention promoting physical activity. The team evaluated pre-intervention data for inactivity that was defined as no sustained 10-minute periods of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity during a week. They also assessed the relationships between inactivity and modifiable risk factors, such as motivation for physical activity, obesity, and pain.
Results show that 42% of RA patients were inactive—participating in no moderate-to-vigorous physical activity periods of at least 10 minutes during a 7-day period of objective activity monitoring. Researchers found that 53% of study participants lacked strong motivation for physical activity and 49% lacked strong beliefs in the benefits of physical activity. These 2 modifiable risk factors account for 65% of excess inactivity in this study group.
While previous research relied on self-reported physical activity measures, the strength of the current study lies in the use of accelerometers—a device used to measure acceleration and movement—to objectively assess physical activity in participants, say the authors.
The National Institute for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases funded this study.