Is Aerobic Exercise Good for Fibromyalgia?

Study: Effects of Pool-based and Land-based Aerobic Exercise on Women with Fibromyalgia/ Chronic Wide Spread Muscle Pain

By Jentoft ES, Kvalvik AG, Mengshoel AM. From Haugesund Sanitetsforening Rheumatism Hospital, Norway, 2001


To examine the effects of pool-based (PE) and land-based (LE) exercise programs on patients with fibromyalgia.


The outcomes were assessed by the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, the Arthritis Self-Efficacy Scale, and tests of physical capacity.


Eighteen subjects in the PE group and 16 in the LE group performed a structured exercise program.

After 20 weeks, greater improvement in grip strength was seen in the LE group compared with the PE group (P < 0.05).

Statistically significant improvements were seen in both groups in cardiovascular capacity, walking time, and daytime fatigue.

In the PE group improvements were also found in number of days of feeling good, self-reported physical impairment, pain, anxiety, and depression. The results were mainly unchanged at 6 months followup.


Physical capacity can be increased by exercise, even when the exercise is performed in a warm-water pool. PE programs may have some additional effects on symptoms.

References: PMID: 11308060