A Comparison of Women With Fibromyalgia Syndrome to Criterion Fitness Standards: A Pilot Study

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Purpose:

To compare fitness of women with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) aged 50+ with performance standards associated with functional independence in late life.

Methods:

Data came from a longitudinal study tracking physical and cognitive function of 93 women with FMS and included the most recent symptoms, activity levels, and fitness assessments.

Results:

Most women performed below criterion-referenced fitness standards for all measures. Nearly 90% percent of those < 70 years scored below the standard for lower body strength. Only ~20% of respondents < 70 years old met the criteria for aerobic endurance. A third of those aged over 70 met the standard in agility and dynamic balance. Physical activity was positively associated with fitness performance, while pain and depression symptoms were negatively associated.

Discussion:

High proportions of women with FMS do not meet fitness standards recommended for maintaining physical independence in late life, indicating a risk for disability. Regular fitness assessments and targeted exercise interventions are warranted.

Jones is Interim Dean, College of Health and Human Development, California State University, Fullerton, CA. Rakovski is with the Department of Sociology, California State University, Fullerton, CA. Rutledge is with the School of Nursing, California State University, Fullerton, CA. Gutierrez is with the Department of Health Science, California State University, Fullerton, CA. Address author correspondence to C. Jessie Jones at jjones@fullerton.edu.