Research Impact: Physical inactivity and co-morbid anxiety symptoms are prevalent among people with Fibromyalgia. Exercise training is a potentially effective alternative therapy to reduce these symptoms. Our current paper synthesizes the most methodologically rigorous trials that have examined the effects of exercise on anxiety among people with Fibromyalgia. Across 10 studies of 595 people (average age = 47.6 years, 97.5% female) who meet American College of Rheumatology criteria for Fibromyalgia diagnosis, compared to non-exercise control groups, exercise interventions resulted in small but significant decreases in anxiety. The largest improvements in anxiety were seen in studies that used exercise interventions of longer than 26 weeks; however, with longer exercise interventions it becomes more important to promote long-term adherence.
McDowell, C.P., Cook, D.B. and Herring, M.P., 2017. The Effects of Exercise Training on Anxiety in Fibromyalgia Patients: A Meta-analysis. Medicine and science in sports and exercise. DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001290
Cillian McDowell is a postgraduate student in the PESS department. Cillian can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org