Exercise and physical activity in patients with inflammatory arthritis

Disease - Psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, muscle weakness

Lead applicant - Mrs Kirsty Bell

Organisation - Glasgow Caledonian University

Type of grant - Nurse and Allied Health Professional Training Fellowship

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £122,890.40

Start date - 1 June 2014

Reference - 20498

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

Once patients finish NHS-provided exercise therapy for arthritis, it is up them to maintain a healthy and physically active lifestyle. Despite the clear benefits of exercise on health and wellbeing, research shows that many patients are unable to be as physically active as they should be. This research aims to assess the activity levels of patients with inflammatory joint diseases. The researchers will identify the main barriers to physical activity and exercise and explore the links between physical activity, health and wellbeing in these patients.

Why is this research important?

Studies that have looked at long-term effects of exercise therapy for arthritis have reported a sharp drop in the number of patients who exercise long-term. Good information is lacking on how active arthritis patients really are, why many of them do not appear to be as active as they should be, and what impact their activity levels have on their health and wellbeing.

The research will gather this information in two ways. Firstly, detailed interviews will be conducted with patients who have been enrolled in an NHS exercise programme exploring the barriers to ongoing exercise. Secondly, a group of 150 patients having exercise therapy for arthritis will wear physical activity monitors during and after the exercise program. The information from these monitors will be combined with information about their health and attitudes.

How will the findings benefit patients?

Identifying barriers to exercise in patients with arthritis should help healthcare professionals and patients develop strategies to overcome them. A better understanding of how closely physical activity, health and wellbeing are linked will further inform healthcare professionals and patients about the benefits of remaining active.