Aerobic Exercise Improves Oxidant-Antioxidant Balance in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis
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[Purpose] Although oxidative stress is known to be present in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the effects of exercise on oxidative parameters are unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of acute aerobic exercise on serum oxidant and antioxidant levels in patients with RA. [Subjects and Methods] Sixteen patients with RA and 10 age-matched healthy volunteers participated in this study. All participants wore polar telemeters and walked on a treadmill for 30 minutes at a speed eliciting 60–75% of maximal heart rates. Blood samples were obtained before, immediately and 24 hours after exercise and malondialdehyde (MDA) and total sulfhydrile group (RSH) levels were measured. [Results] Both groups had similar heart rates during the test but the treadmill speed of the RA patients was significantly lower than that of the healthy volunteers. Serum MDA levels were lower than in both groups immediately after exercise, with greater decrements in the RA patients than controls. MDA levels returned to baseline 24 hours after the exercise only in the controls; they remained low in the RA patients. There was a slight increase in serum RSH levels after exercise compared to baseline in both groups. [Conclusion] Moderate intensity treadmill exercise did not have any adverse effect on the oxidant-antioxidant balance. The results suggest that such an exercise may be safely added to the rehabilitation program of RA for additional antioxidant effects. Morever, this antioxidant environment is maintained longer in RA patients.