Exercise as a therapeutic tool to counteract inflammation and clinical symptoms in autoimmune rheumatic diseases

Autoimmun Rev. 2012 Dec;12(2):218-24. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2012.06.007. Epub 2012 Jul 7.


Chronic inflammation is a common feature shared by several autoimmune rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, idiopathic inflammatory myopathies, systemic sclerosis, and ankylosing spondylitis. Therefore, blocking or reducing inflammation is one of the major treatment strategies in these diseases. In this context, exercise training has emerged as a potential therapeutic tool in counteracting systemic inflammation, thereby leading to better clinical outcomes. The aims of this review are i) to provide a summary of the clinical effects of exercise training in selected autoimmune rheumatic diseases; and ii) to discuss the potential anti-inflammatory role of exercise training in autoimmune rheumatic diseases, stressing the gaps in literature and the clinical and scientific perspectives in the field.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / therapy
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / therapy*
  • Rheumatic Diseases / therapy*