Promoting physical activity (PA) in rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is important for improved health outcomes, and is usually performed in a clinical setting. Considering that RA is a lifelong disease, self-management of PA outside health care should be encouraged. The purpose of the Physical Activity in Rheumatoid Arthritis (PARA) study, was to study whether persons with RA would be able to manage their PA in a real life environment, outside health care with limited support from a physical therapist. The 2-year program, performed in public training centers, was based on PA recommendations. The first year consisted of three main components; daily PA, two weekly circuit training sessions including aerobic and strength exercises and bi-weekly support group meetings. The meetings were based on existing evidence on social cognitive theory using individual goal setting, action planning, feedback on performance and provision of social support in a group format. The meetings were led by physical therapists, trained prior the intervention in coaching skills and strategies to support PA behavior. During the second year, the meetings were optional with the participant's in charge. High retention and reasonable adherence indicated good feasibility of the program. Circuit training at public gyms, PA in daily life, prompts by text messages and professional coaching were highly valued by the participants. Tailoring coaching to the participant's preferences regarding setting, exercise format and behavioral support was a major challenge as was also the mixed previous experience of exercise and the individual's physical condition.
Disclosure of Interest None declared