Content » Vol 47, Issue 7

Original report

Aerobic and cardiovascular autonomic adaptations to moderate intensity endurance exercise in patients with fibromyalgia

Ellen Marie Bardal, Karin Roeleveld, Paul Jarle Mork
Department of Neuroscience, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway.
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1966


Objective: To investigate whether moderate intensity endurance exercise has similar effects on cardiovascular fitness and autonomic function in patients with fibromyalgia and healthy controls.
Design: Case-control intervention study.
Subjects: Twenty-five female patients with fibromyalgia and 25 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (age range 40–64 years) were recruited to the study. Fifteen patients and 19 controls participated at both pre- and post-test.
Methods: Supervised spinning workouts of moderate intensity (~75% of age-predicted maximum heart rate) were performed twice a week for 12 weeks. Cardiovascular fitness was evaluated by an incremental ergometer cycling test to anaerobic threshold. Autonomic function was assessed by heart rate recovery after exercise, resting blood pressure, and resting heart rate variability. Pain was scored on a visual analogue scale, while overall symptom level was assessed by the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire.
Results: Linear regression analysis with adjustments for baseline level and attendance rate showed a similar dose-dependent increase in patients and controls in oxygen uptake and workload after the 12-week intervention. Indices of autonomic function remained unchanged in both groups. Neck/shoulder pain decreased in patients, while overall symptom level remained unchanged.
Conclusions: Female patients with fibromyalgia have similar cardiovascular adaptations to moderate intensity endurance exercise as healthy controls.

Lay Abstract


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