Aerobic exercise versus combined exercise therapy in women with fibromyalgia syndrome: a randomized controlled trial

Sañudo, Borja, Galiano, Delfín, Carrasco, Luis, Blagojevic, Milisa, de Hoyo, Moisés and Saxton, John (2010) Aerobic exercise versus combined exercise therapy in women with fibromyalgia syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 91 (12). pp. 1838-43. ISSN 1532-821X

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To investigate the effects of supervised aerobic exercise (AE) and a combined program of supervised aerobic, muscle strengthening, and flexibility exercises (combined exercise [CE]) on important health outcomes in women with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS).


Randomized controlled trial.


Community-based supervised intervention.


Women (N=64) with a diagnosis of FMS according to the American College of Rheumatology criteria.


Participants were randomly allocated to 1 of 3 groups: supervised AE, supervised CE, or usual-care control. Exercise sessions were performed twice weekly (45-60min/session) for 24 weeks.


The primary outcome measure was the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ). Exploratory outcome measures were the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey, Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), aerobic capacity (6-minute walk test), hand-grip strength, and range of motion in the shoulders and hips.


Compliance with both interventions was excellent, with women in the exercise groups attending more than 85% of sessions. A 14% to 15% improvement from baseline in total FIQ score was observed in the exercise groups (P≤.02) and was accompanied by decreases in BDI scores of 8.5 (P<.001) and 6.4 (P<.001) points in the AE and CE groups, respectively. Relative to nonexercising controls, CE evoked improvements in the SF-36 Physical Functioning (P=.003) and Bodily Pain (P=.003) domains and was more effective than AE for evoking improvements in the Vitality (P=.002) and Mental Health (P=.04) domains. Greater improvements also were observed in shoulder/hip range of motion and handgrip strength in the CE group.


Given the equivalent time commitment required for AE and CE, our results suggest that women with FMS can gain additional health benefits by engaging in a similar volume of CE.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: A300 Clinical Medicine
C600 Sports Science
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation
Depositing User: Prof John Saxton
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2016 14:37
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2019 15:29

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