Hi all, this research was posted on Arthritis Action forum, thought you might find it interesting.
Weight training Study
Researchers at Bangor University and Gwynedd Hospital recruited 28 patients with RA in order to study the effect of high-intensity progressive resistance training on their muscles. Volunteers were divided into two study groups, with 13 participants taking part in twice-weekly resistance training sessions for 24 weeks and the remaining 15 patients doing a series of home exercises. The group represented the average RA patient; two thirds were women, who had had RA for about eight years, and their disease was under control.
Assessments were carried out at the beginning and end of the 24-week study period and the findings were published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research.
The researchers found that people who took part in resistance training sessions typically benefited from an increase in lean body mass – a person’s body weight minus their fat – and appendicular lean mass, which is the mass of the muscles in the arms and legs, and a decrease in total fat mass, which was apparent in a reduction of fat mass in their trunk (so reducing their risk of diabetes and cardio-vascular disease).
Participants’ strength in terms of training improved by 119 per cent, including a 30 per cent improvement in chair stands, a 25 per cent rise in knee extensor strength, a 23 per cent increase in arm curls and a 17 per cent improvement in walk time. In fact, function in these patients improved to the point where it was the equivalent to that of healthy individuals of the same age; in other words, RA-related disability had been removed.
Increases in muscle volume were also found to be associated with a rise in muscle levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and IGF binding protein 3, both of which promote the growth of muscles, bone and cartilage.
The second group experienced improvement although to nowhere near the same degree as group one.