More than two of five adults with rheumatoid arthritis were physically inactive at the start of a clinical study, researchers reported.
Inactivity was associated with a lack of strong motivation for physical exercise and a disbelief in the benefits of activity, according to Jungwha Lee, PhD, of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues.
On the other hand, pain was not associated with inactivity, Lee and colleagues reported online in Arthritis Care & Research.
The findings – from baseline data collected for a randomized clinical trial of an exercise intervention – suggest targets for public health officials and doctors treating patients with the condition, Lee and colleagues argued.
“Our results suggest that public health initiatives need to address the lack of motivation to exercise and promote the benefits of physical activity to reduce the prevalence of inactivity” in rheumatoid arthritis patients, Lee said in a statement.
“While there is much evidence of the benefits of physical activity, (rheumatoid arthritis) patients are generally not physically active,” Lee said, adding that “physicians often do not encourage regular physical activity in this patient population.”