Research Study Abstract

Safety and feasibility of a home-based six week resistance training program in juvenile idiopathic arthritis

  • Published on Dec. 20, 2013

Background: Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), among the most common chronic diseases of childhood, can be associated with attenuated physical activity levels, reduced fitness, decreased functionality and pain. This pilot study aimed to determine the safety, feasibility and effect of a six week resistance training program in children with JIA.

Methods: Youth (8-18 years) with JIA participated in a home-based resistance training program. Participants reported pain on an electronic diary once a day for one week prior to training, then once a day on non-exercise days and three times a day (before-exercise, after-exercise, and end-of-day) on exercise days for the subsequent six weeks of training. Secondary outcome measures included inflammation (assessed by ultrasound), muscle size (assessed by ultrasound), muscle strength (assessed by dynamometer) and functional ability (assessed by childhood health assessment questionnaire), measured at baseline and post-training. Participants were also instructed to wear an accelerometer one week prior to training to estimate baseline physical activity levels. Statistical analyses included safety (pain changes and any adverse events), feasibility (adherence to program and modifications made to exercises) and effect of program (differences in secondary measures pre and post training). An alpha level of p < 0.05 was accepted as significant.

Results: Seven participants completed an average of 12.7 ± 3.4 (range 8-17) exercise sessions out of a possible 18 (70.6%). No adverse events were reported and pain did not increase over the seven weeks. Secondary measures revealed a significant increase in vastus lateralis thickness from pre to post training (p < 0.05). End-of-day pain intensity was correlated to end-of-day stiffness, fatigue and mood (r = .864, r = .581, r = -.637, respectively, p < 0.001). Pain intensity was also correlated with ratings of perceived exertion of the exercise (r = 0.324, p < 0.01). Only two children met the recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day.

Conclusions: A six week home-based resistance training program is both safe (absence of pain changes or adverse events over the six weeks) and feasible (comparable adherence rates to other exercise studies involving JIA and individually modifiable) in children with JIA.


  • Cameron Van Oort 1
  • Susan M Tupper 2
  • Alan M Rosenberg 3
  • Jonathan P Farthing 1
  • Adam D Baxter-Jones 1


  • 1

    College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan, 87 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 5B2 Canada

  • 2

    Saskatoon Health Region, University of Saskatchewan, 87 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 5B2 Canada

  • 3

    Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, 87 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 5B2 Canada


Pediatric Rheumatology


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