Team-rehabilitation in inflammatory arthritis benefits functional outcomes along with improved body composition which is associated with improved cardiorespiratory fitness

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We investigated effect of team-rehabilitation in inflammatory arthritis on body composition and physical functions. Further, we examined whether body composition and physical functions are associated with disability and cardiorespiratory fitness(CRF).


The participants of a 4-week team-rehabilitation program, 149 patients with chronic arthritis, aged 53(13) years, 74% women, disease duration 21(13) years, were evaluated prerehabilitation, after 3 and 12 months. Body composition was assessed by bioelectrical impedance analysis and CRF by the Åstrand 6-minute cycle test. ANCOVA with Bonferroni correction and linear mixed models were applied.


After 3 and 12 months there were significant reductions in waist circumference and measures of fat, adjusted for age, sex and baseline measures. The prevalence of adiposity and central obesity decreased after 12 months. Hand-grip strength and timed sit-to-stand(TST) improved together with reduction in Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) and increased VO2max after 3 and 12 months. HAQ over time was associated with pre-rehabilitation measures of lean mass of legs, hand-grip strength, TST and physical activity, as well as with changes in hand-grip strength, physical activity and sedentary time, but not with changes of body composition. VO2max over time was associated with pre-rehabilitation BMI, waist circumference, measures of fat and lean mass, changes in BMI, waist circumference and measures of fat.


In patients with inflammatory arthritis, 4-week team-rehabilitation benefited body composition, level of physical functioning, activity and CRF for up to 12 months. Measures of physical function and activity were linked to HAQ over time, whereas body composition was linked to CRF.

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