Mission: To improve the musculoskeletal function, muscle strength and quality of life in patients with inflammatory autoimmune disease
Method: To use a novel and safe professionally supervised resistance exercise program in deconditioned patients being treated for an active autoimmune inflammatory disease
Identifying the Problem:
- Muscle atrophy (sarcopenia) and muscle weakness which lead to disability and poor quality of life are highly prevalent among patients with active rheumatic disease.
- Patients often have painful arthritis and co-morbidities limiting capacity to do traditional exercise. Loss of muscle strength is a consequence of chronic inflammation, physical inactivity and the medications used for treatment; especially prednisone.
- The equipment and methods used by trainers in conventional commercial “gyms” are simply unable to adapt to the special musculoskeletal needs of our patients.
- There is need for a dynamic and effective exercise intervention that allows patients with rheumatologic conditions to achieve fitness, strength and optimum body composition which will improve quality of life.
Our Exercise Center:
- Our Center is furnished with specialized strength training equipment which can safely accommodate a wide range of joint and musculoskeletal conditions.
- Each one-on-one resistance exercise session includes dynamic and static resistance exercise.
- Our static resistance equipment is outfitted with novel pressure sensors and real-time computer generated feedback so patients and their trainers can track progress and performance closely.
- Our Center has experienced experts (faculty and trainer) who have designed a novel exercise program for our patients.
- Development of a research gym within our clinical space which is easily accessible to patients
- Streamlined protocols are in place for measuring body composition, functional status and strength outcomes
- Methods to study the biology of the exercise using blood samples to quantify the effects of exercise on inflammation and muscle disease
- We have enrolled 40 rheumatology patients in exercise studies in our Center:
Preliminary data have shown that after exercising 2x/week for 16 weeks our participants:
- Have up to 10% increase in muscle mass and 40% increase in strength
- Report significant improvements in fatigue, sleep and energy
- Have had no serious safety events