Exercise improves sleep and reduces physical fatigue levels in women with fibromyalgia

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Milnacipran, Savella, fibromyalgia, sleepResistance exercise helps decrease physical fatigue in women with fibromyalgia and boosts sleep, according to a study published in Arthritis Research & Therapy.

Fibromyalgia is thought to affect about 1–3% of the general population. Fatigue limits the work ability and social life of people with fibromyalgia. Some studies suggested that physical exercise can decrease fatigue levels and it’s an exciting area of research.

So a team looked at the effects of a person-centred progressive resistance exercise programme on different dimensions of fatigue in 130 women with fibromyalgia aged 22–64 years. The participants were split into two groups. One group received relaxation training (the control group) and the other group followed an exercise programme for 50 minutes twice a week for 15 weeks. Over the 15 weeks the training increased.

Key findings

  • Attendance was 71% and only 7% of the resistance group dropped out because of increased pain, which implies that most women with fibromyalgia can tolerate tailored resistance exercise twice a week for over three months;
  • More than 60% of the women increased loads up to 80% of one repetition maximum;
  • The exercise group had reduced fatigue and improved sleep quality;
  • Working fewer hours a week predicted improved fatigue levels too.

The researchers comment:

“Person-centered progressive resistance exercise improved physical fatigue in women with fibromyalgia when compared to an active control group.”

Click here to read the original research.

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