Mediterr J Rheumatol 2018;29(4):199-206
Exercise participation has increased in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis: A cross-sectional comparison between two Dutch RA cohorts
Authors Information

1. Radboud University Medical Centre, Radboud Institute for Health Sciences, IQ Healthcare, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
2. Department of Rheumatology, Bernhoven Hospital, Uden, The Netherlands

OBJECTIVE: This study evaluates exercise participation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and the percentage of patients that meet the recommended level of physical activity (at least 150 minutes per week moderate-intensity physical activity) in two cross-sectional questionnaires in 2013 and 2016 in two Dutch RA cohorts. METHODS: In 2013, a cross-sectional study was performed among 740 patients with RA from seven outpatient clinics from the Dutch DREAM registry. Subsequently in 2016, 498 patients with RA of the outpatient clinic of the Bernhoven Hospital (member of the DREAM registry) participated in a similar study. In both years, patients filled in an identical questionnaire about exercise participation (frequency and duration). In 2016, items about self-efficacy to become more physically active were added to the questionnaire. RESULTS: In 2016, patients with RA spent significantly more minutes per week in exercise activities compared to 2013: 180 (150-450) and 120 (60-225) minutes per week, respectively (P<0.001). The percentage of patients with RA who met the recommended physical activity level increased from 25% in 2013 to 57% in 2016. Almost half (44%) of the non-exercisers reported feeling confident to become more physically active. CONCLUSION: Compared to 2013, RA patients participated in 2016 more frequently and spent more minutes per week in exercise activities. This resulted in a higher percentage of patients who met the recommended physical activity level. A personalized physical activity program, with a focus on identifying barriers and setting personal goals, might further increase the physical activity level of patients with RA.