Table 2

Overview of systematic reviews of randomised trials (evidence category 1A) regarding ‘physical activity and exercise’: treatment modality and disease, direction of effect and the quality of the evidence according to GRADE in patients with RA, SpA and OA

Treatment modality
  Disease
Reviews (n)Direction of effectGRADE quality of evidence
General exercise
  RA5o/+⊕⊕
  SpA6+⊕⊕
  OA-general6+⊕⊕⊕
  OA-hand/wrist4o/+⊕⊕
  OA-hip/knee11+⊕⊕⊕
  OA-hip11o/+⊕⊕
  OA-knee18+⊕⊕⊕
  OA-foot/ankle2+⊕⊕
Aerobic exercise
  RA3o/+⊕⊕
  OA-general3+⊕⊕⊕
  OA-hip/knee2o/+⊕⊕
  OA-hip1o
  OA-knee9+⊕⊕⊕
Strength and resistance
  RA2o/+⊕⊕
  OA-general3+⊕⊕⊕
  OA-hand/wrist2o/+⊕⊕
  OA-hip/knee4+⊕⊕⊕
  OA-hip3+⊕⊕
  OA-knee14+⊕⊕⊕
Tai chi, yoga, qigong, whole body vibration
  RA3?/+
  OA-general6o/+⊕ to ⊕⊕
  OA-hand/wrist3+
  OA-hip/knee1o/+⊕⊕
  OA-knee12o/+⊕ to ⊕⊕
  • Diseases without a review were excluded from the table.

  • Direction of effect: +, positive; o, no; −, negative; ?, unclear (effect equivocal) or a combination thereof meaning that different reviews reached different conclusions about the effect of the treatment.

  • References are shown in online supplementary file 3.

  • GRADE: ⊕⊕⊕⊕, high; ⊕⊕⊕, moderate; ⊕⊕, low; ⊕ to ⊕⊕, very low to low; ⊕, very low. (The combined ⊕ to ⊕⊕ grade is due to difference in quality between studies of different modalities.)

  • GRADE, Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation; OA, osteoarthritis; RA, rheumatoid arthritis; SpA, spondyloarthritis.