Physical Activity and Sleep in Adults with Arthritis

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Exercise Daily – A new study published in Arthritis Care & Research has examined patterns of 24-hour physical activity and sleep among patients with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and knee osteoarthritis. Image credit: Lynne Feehan

In the 172-participant study, four profiles were apparent with differences characterized by variations in time spent sleeping (High and Low sleepers), non-ambulatory activities (High Sitters), and ambulatory activities (Balanced Activity).

Younger age, not having a job that involved a lot of sitting, and having outside walking as a habit were each associated with Balanced Activity relative to High Sitters.

Considering these profiles may be useful in efforts to help individuals with arthritis modify their activity or sleep behaviors.

“We all live our daily lives over 24 hours, and our study found that people with arthritis are likely to have one of four distinctly different patterns for how they allocate time in sleep and a variety of activities throughout their day,” said lead author Lynne Feehan, PT, PhD, Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia. “This suggests that a one-size-fits-all approach to supporting people with arthritis to modify their daily sleep or physical activity choices may not be appropriate.”

Alison Hoens a patient partner on this study, noted, “As a patient living with rheumatoid arthritis and as a physical therapist, the findings of this study resonate strongly with me. The recognition that patients, even with similar diagnoses, are ‘not all the same’ speaks to the potential of tailoring support from healthcare providers to encourage healthy sleep, rest, and activity that align with a patient’s habits and needs.”

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