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Exercise & FSHD

The Latest Study

The role of exercise in muscular dystrophy has long been controversial and advice has oscillated from promoting exercise to counselling people with muscular dystrophy to avoid it entirely.

A recent review of the available evidence concluded that exercise was not harmful for people with FSHD, but was unable to conclude any benefit.This was based on the studies available which were short duration, or contained a mix of dystrophies or outcome measures. Now a new study may help build the case that exercise is an important part of management for FSHD.

This study was only 16 people but over 24 weeks they managed to show that a home-based program of cycling 3 times weekly for 35 minutes (combination of strength, high-intensity interval, and low-intensity aerobic) at home resulted in improvements in general fitness and muscle strength. They also showed improvements in the six minute walk test, a test commonly used to see if an intervention is effective in people with muscular dystrophy.

The Foundation recently published a clinical consensus statement that addresses the role of exercise in the management of FSHD. The statement along with support materials can be found here under treatment guidelines. Seek advice from a health professional before you embark on any exercise program.

What are your experiences of exercise? Do you find it helpful? Do you struggle with fatigue and muscle pain following exercise? We would love to hear your stories. Please email admin@fshdglobal.org