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Kinesiology and Physical Education


This field study examined the influence of moderate intensity training on gait patterns and work capacity of individauls with fibromyalgia syndrome (FS). FS is a chronic condition of unknown etiology, characterized by muscle tenderness, pain and stiffness and often accompanied by depression and fatigue which seems to occur primarily in middle aged females. There is no known cure for FS but treatment often includes a prescription of mild exercise. Few studies have evaluated the effectiveness of mild exercise on work capacity and gait patterns in FS patients. Participants were 14 females (age 47.0±7.6 y) who participated in a 10 wk community based aerobic, strength and stretching program designed for FS individuals. Subjects were evaluated pre- and post-program and at a 2 month follow up. Work capacity was estimated by a sub-maximal PWC 170 cycle ergometer test and a Borg perceived exertion scale. Gait was assessed using OptoTrack three dimensional kinematics with 16 channel analogue data acquisition system. Trunk flexibility was also assessed. No significant change in estimated work capacity of flexibility was seen between pre- post- and follow up times. Nevertheless, a significant increase in self selected walking speed (p < 0.05) and a trend toward a more normal gait pattern that was sustained in the follow up testing was noted. We had previously also reported a significant improvement in muslce pain and other fibromyalgia symptoms in this population consequent to the training program. It was concluded that mild exercise training that does not influence work capacity or trunk flexibility can nevertheless positively influence gait mechanics and fibromyalgia symptoms in female FS patients.


Reprinted from Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, Vol. 1, P.M. Tiidus, M. Pierrynowski, & K.A. Dawson, “Influence of moderate training on gait and work capacity of fibromyalgia patients: A preliminary field study,” 122-127, © 2002, with permission from the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine.