Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a disease affecting muscle fiber integrity in boys that leads to progressive weakness in skeletal muscle and premature death. Currently, there is no known cure for the disease. Different interventions have been explored to delay the progression of the disease and improve the quality of life for the DMD patient. Physical activity is one treatment that has generated controversy due to the increased mechanical stress placed on the muscle during contraction. This review explores the literature in animal models and human DMD patients and evaluates the known theoretical risks and benefits of increased physical activity in DMD patients.
The author is with Department of Exercise Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003.