HealthDay News — Physical activity interventions for working adults with arthritis may be improved by taking into account the demands of an individual’s multiple roles, including the complex relationship between work, health and other life responsibilities, researchers suggest.
Simone A. Kaptein, PhD, from the Toronto Western Research Institute, and colleagues recruited 24 women and 16 men aged 29 to 72 years, who were currently or recently employed (within two years) and had osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis to determine physical activity perceptions.
Participants were split up into eight focus groups. Discussions were audiotaped and transcribed, with transcripts being evaluated using qualitative content analysis. Findings were published in Arthritis Care & Research.
The researchers found that all groups discussed the impact of arthritis on a range of physical activities. Although exercise was viewed as positively influencing health and well-being, several complex themes emerged. Participants indicated they thought physical activity was a potential cause of arthritis, and that there is a reciprocal relationship between arthritis and physical activity and vice versa.
Physical activity was associated with both physical and psychological benefits and harms. For example, patients stated they had difficulty making physical activity decisions when living in pain or when faced with episodic symptoms.
“Competing demands, pain, energy, episodic symptoms, support and decisions to disclose one’s illness at work influenced physical activity,” the researchers wrote.