Article Text

SAT0588-HPR Swimming is as Effective as Walking for Treating Fibromyalgia: a Randomized Controlled Trial.
  1. G. Fernandes1,
  2. F. Jennings1,
  3. A. L. Buosi1,
  4. M. Nery1,
  5. J. Natour1
  1. 1Disciplina de reumatologia, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil


Background Background: Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic widespread pain syndrome that causes deterioration of physical capacity. Exercises are fundamental in the treatment of FM, however, it is not known the effects of swimming in patients with FM.

Objectives Objective: To evaluate the effects of swimming on pain, functional capacity, quality of life, and aerobic capacity in patients with FM, compared to walking.

Methods Methods: Seventy-five women with diagnosis of FM according to ACR criteria with age between 18 and 60 years were selected. The patients were randomized to swimming group (SG) or walking group (WG). The SG performed swimming in front-crawl style and the heart rate (HR) training was defined by subtracting 10 beats from anaerobic threshold heart rate to compensate underwater horizontal position. The WG performed walking at anaerobic threshold HR. Exercise sessions had duration of 50 minutes and were performed three times a week for 12 weeks. The outcome measures were visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain, Time Up and Go Test (TUG) for functional capacity, Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) for health-related quality of life and SF 36 for general quality of life. Aerobic capacity was measured by an incremental cardiopulmonary exercise testing protocol by treadmill. The evaluations were done by a blinded assessor at baseline (T0), 6 (T6) and 12 weeks (T12) after randomization.

Results Results: Thirty-nine patients were randomized to SG and 36 to WG. The groups were homogeneous at baseline regarding clinical and demographic characteristics. After 12 weeks, both groups improved pain, functional capacity and quality of life (FIQ and SF 36) compared to baseline, however there were no differences between groups. Regarding aerobic capacity, both groups did not show changes over time. Tolerance to exercise, measured by adherence to programs, was similar in both groups (77.8% in SG and 72.2% in WG).

Conclusions Conclusions: Swimming is as effective as walking in improving pain, functional capacity, health-related quality of life and general quality of life in patients with FM. In addition, swimming is well-tolerated by patients with FM. However, clinical improvements are not associated to aerobic capacity.


  1. Altan L, Bingöl U, Aykaç M, et al. Investigation of the effects of pool-based exercise on fibromyalgia syndrome. Rheumatol Int, 2004; 24: 272–277.

  2. Häuser W, Klose P, Langhorst J, Moradi B, Steinbach M, Schiltenwolf M, Busch A: Efficacy of different types of aerobic exercise in fibromyalgia syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Arthritis Res Ther 2010, 12: R79.

Disclosure of Interest G. Fernandes: None Declared, F. Jennings: None Declared, A. L. Buosi: None Declared, M. Nery: None Declared, J. Natour Grant/research support from: FAPESP- Fundação de Apoio a Pesquisa de São Paulo

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