A Randomized Controlled Trial of Deep Water Running: Clinical Effectiveness of Aquatic Exercise to Treat Fibromyalgia.
Assiss, M.R., Silva, L.E., Alves, A.M.B., Pessanha, A.P., Valim, V., Feldman, D., Leite de Barros Neto, T., Natou, J. (2006). A Randomized Controlled Trial of Deep Water Running: Clinical Effectiveness of Aquatic Exercise to Treat Fibromyalgia. Arthritis Care and Research, 55(1), 57-65.
The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of a water-based vs. a land-based aerobic exercise program in women with Fibromyalgia (FM). The authors also looked at adverse events, aerobic conditioning, and the relationship between improvements in symptoms and aerobic gain.
A total of 276 women were screened. Sixty sedentary women who fulfilled the American College of Rheumatology classification criteria for FM were recruited from the rheumatology outpatient clinic of the Federal University of Sao Pauol. The patients were randomly assigned to either deep water running (DWR) in the warmed swimming pool or land based exercise (LBE) consisting of walking or jogging on a treadmill.
Both groups exercised for 60 minutes, 3 times a week for 15 weeks. DWR consisted of simulated running in the deep end of the pool aided by a floatation device. Pain, response to therapy, depressive symptoms, physical functioning, symptom severity, heart rate and peak oxygen uptake were all assessed.
Both groups improved significantly at week 15 compared to baseline. Fifty percent of the patients from the LBE group rated themselves as clinically improved at week 8 vs. 70 % from the DWR group. Only the DWR showed improvements in the section of the short form health survey (SF-36) that addresses limitations in usual role activities because of emotional problems.
The authors conclude that DWR may be as effective as LBE in treating patients with FM regarding pain, and may be even more advantageous regarding emotional aspects. DWR may be a promising source of aerobic exercise for patients with FM whose weight bearing activity may be limited. Additionally, exercise in a warmed pool may be a pleasant stimulus for exercise compliance.