HealthDay News — Aerobic exercise seems beneficial for patients with fibromyalgia, with improvements in health-related quality of life (HRQOL), according to a review published in the Cochrane Library.

Julia Bidonde, PhD, from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review and included data from 13 randomized controlled trials involving 839 adults with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. The trials compared aerobic training interventions versus no exercise or another intervention.

The researchers found that, compared with controls, there were positive effects (expressed on a 0 to 100 scale with lower values best) for aerobic exercise in HRQOL (mean 56.08; absolute improvement, 8%; relative improvement, 15%); pain intensity (mean, 65.31; absolute improvement 11%; relative improvement 18%); stiffness (mean, 69; absolute difference in improvement, 8%; relative change in improvement, 11.4%); physical function (mean, 38.32; absolute change in improvement, 10%; relative change in improvement, 21.9%); and fatigue (mean, 68; absolute change in improvement, 6%; relative change in improvement, 8%). The risk ratio was moderate quality for withdrawals (1.25; 95% CI, 0.89-1.77) in pooled analysis. Based on low-quality evidence from 3  trials on long-term effects, the benefits for pain and function persisted, but those for HRQOL and fatigue did not.

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“Aerobic exercise appears to be well tolerated (similar withdrawal rates across groups), although evidence on adverse events is scarce, so we are uncertain about its safety,” the authors wrote.

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Bidonde J, Busch AJ, Schachter CL, et al. Aerobic exercise training for adults with fibromyalgia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017;6:CD012700.