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Water Aerobics May Ease Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia Patients Report Better Quality of Life After Starting Water Aerobics
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Feb. 21, 2008 -- Living with fibromyalgia may get better when patients work out in a pool.

That's according to new fibromyalgia research from Spain, which reports that water aerobics "enhances the health-related quality of life in women with fibromyalgia."

The researchers studied 33 women with fibromyalgia who were leading sedentary lives. The women, who were 37 to 71 years old, were split into two groups.

Women in one group were assigned to take part in a water aerobics program. They worked out together in a warm, waist-deep pool for an hour, three times per week, for eight months. An instructor guided them through a warm-up, strength exercises, aerobics, and a cool-down period during each workout.

For comparison, the women in the other group kept their sedentary habits.  

Before anyone dipped a toe in a pool, and again at the end of the study, the women rated their quality of life. Quality-of-life ratings rose for women in the water aerobics group. Not so for the idle women; their quality-of-life ratings bobbed along at the same low level.

What mattered more -- working out at all, or working out in the water? The study doesn't settle that question.

But the researchers -- who included sports scientist Narcis Gusi, PhD, of Spain's University of Extremadura -- note that walking and low-impact aerobic exercise might be alternatives for fibromyalgia patients without pool access.

The findings appear in today's online edition of Arthritis Research & Therapy.

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