Volume 3, Issue 1 p. 29-35
Original Article
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Dance-based aerobic exercise for rheumatoid arthritis

Susan G. Perlman MD

Susan G. Perlman MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine and Director of the Education Component of NUMAC, Chicago

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Karen J. Connell MS

Corresponding Author

Karen J. Connell MS

Principal Education Investigator, NUMAC, and President, Institute for Inquiry in Education, Inc., Chicago

NUMAC, 303 E. Chicago Avenue, Ward 2–250, Chicago, IL 60611Search for more papers by this author
Andrea Clark MS

Andrea Clark MS

President

Dance Fitness, Inc., Chicago

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Marlena S. Robinson BSN, MA

Marlena S. Robinson BSN, MA

Research Associates, NUMAC, Evanston, Illinois

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Patricia Conlon OTR/L, MA

Patricia Conlon OTR/L, MA

Research Associates, NUMAC, Evanston, Illinois

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Maureen Gecht OTR/L, Mph

Maureen Gecht OTR/L, Mph

Research Associates, NUMAC, Evanston, Illinois

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Paul Caldron DO

Paul Caldron DO

Northwestern-affiliated rheumatologist in practice at Evanston Hospital, Evanston, Illinois

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James M. Sinacore PhD

James M. Sinacore PhD

Research Associate in NUMAC's Biostatistics and Data Management Core and Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Loyola University, Chicago

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First published: March 1990
Citations: 18

Abstract

Reported here are the results of the first effort to examine the effects of a dance-based aerobic exercise program for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Forty-three subjects with RA completed a 16-week program that met twice weekly for 2 hours. One hour was devoted to exercise consisting of 15 to 20 minutes of warm-ups, 20 to 30 minutes of dance-based aerobic exercise, and 15 to 20 minutes of mat work for muscle strengthening and flexibility. The second hour was devoted to discussion that emphasized participant problem solving. The combined exercise/ problem-solving discussion program was called EDUCIZE. Analyses of pretest to posttest changes indicated no deleterious effects on disease activity. In fact, physician-assessed articular pain and swelling decreased significantly, as did 50-foot walk time, pain, and depression. Participants reported significant improvement in lower extremity function. Changes in vigor and fatigue approached significance. Perceptions of general health as well as four of five quality of life indices improved significantly.

This study adds to the as yet limited literature that indicates that weight-bearing vigorous exercise is beneficial for people with arthritis. Controlled studies to validate the findings of this study appear warranted. Also important for future research is investigation of the influence of the problem-solving discussion component on program effects.