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28.06.2020 | Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation | Ausgabe 9/2020 Open Access

Rheumatology International 9/2020

Adequately dosed aerobic physical activity in people with axial spondyloarthritis: associations with physical therapy

Rheumatology International > Ausgabe 9/2020
Bas Hilberdink, Thea Vliet Vlieland, Florus van der Giesen, Floris van Gaalen, Robbert Goekoop, Andreas Peeters, Marta Fiocco, Salima van Weely
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This study aimed to compare the engagement in moderate- and vigorous-intensity PA in axSpA patients with and without current physical therapy (PT).


In this cross-sectional study, a survey, including current PT treatment (yes/no) and PA, using the ‘Short QUestionnaire to ASsess Health-enhancing PA’ (SQUASH), was sent to 458 axSpA patients from three Dutch hospitals. From the SQUASH, the proportions meeting aerobic PA recommendations (≥ 150 min/week moderate-, ≥ 75 min/week vigorous-intensity PA or equivalent combination; yes/no) were calculated. To investigate the association between PT treatment and meeting the PA recommendations, odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were estimated using logistic regression models, adjusting for sex, age, health status and hospital.


The questionnaire was completed by 200 patients, of whom 68%, 50% and 82% met the moderate-, vigorous- or combined-intensity PA recommendations, respectively. Ninety-nine patients (50%) had PT treatment, and those patients were more likely to meet the moderate- (OR 2.09 [95% CI 1.09–3.99]) or combined-intensity (OR 3.35 [95% CI 1.38–8.13]) PA recommendations, but not the vigorous-intensity PA recommendation (OR 1.53 [95% CI 0.80–2.93]). Aerobic exercise was executed in 19% of individual PT programs.


AxSpA patients with PT were more likely to meet the moderate- and combined-intensity PA recommendations, whereas there was no difference in meeting the vigorous-intensity PA recommendation. Irrespective of having PT treatment, recommendations for vigorous-intensity PA are met by only half of the patients. Implementation should thus focus on aerobic PA in patients without PT and on vigorous-intensity PA in PT programs.

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