According to study results presented at the annual meeting of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR), an exercise program that utilizes a Swiss ball can benefit people with ankylosing spondylitis by improving muscle strength and walking performance. Researchers from Brazil randomly assigned 60 ankylosing spondylitis patients to one of two groups. One group participated in a 16-week program involving 8 exercises on the Swiss ball with free weights two times a week. The second group, serving as the control group, continued with their usual drug treatment regimen with no exercise.
The group that used the Swiss ball improved strength in several muscle groups, including abdominal muscles and triceps, and performed significantly better than the control group on the 6-minute walk test at the end of 16 weeks. Researchers concluded that using the Swiss ball improves function, strength, and mobility without harmful effects on disease activity among ankylosing spondylitis patients.
Souza et al., Benefits of progressive muscle strengthening using a Swiss ball in patients with ankylosing spondylitis: a randomised controlled trial [abstract]. EULAR Annual European Congress of Rheumatology; 12-15 June 2013; Madrid, Spain. Abstract OP0096-HPR
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