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Muscular dystrophies: influence of physical conditioning on the disease evolution

Ansved, Tor

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: July 2003 - Volume 6 - Issue 4 - p 435–439
doi: 10.1097/01.mco.0000078987.18774.d9

Purpose of review To summarize the current knowledge of the effects of physical activity on muscular dystrophies.

Recent findings Although the usefulness of exercise training in muscular dystrophy patients has been debated for many years, only a limited number of articles addressing this issue have been published to date. Existing studies on the effects of strength training in patients with muscular dystrophies have shown promising results, but interpretations are hampered by several methodological shortcomings.

Summary The scientific basis for solid recommendations of different exercise regimens in muscular dystrophies is poor, but existing data suggest beneficial effects of adopting an active lifestyle. Low- to moderate-intensity resistance and aerobic training may be recommended in slowly progressive myopathic disorders. To date, there is no evidence to support the recommendation of high-resistance exercise regimens over low-moderate intensity exercise. In rapidly progressive myopathies, which are due to aberrant structural proteins such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the use of high-resistance and eccentric training should be avoided. There is still, however, no evidence that physical training can influence the evolution of muscular dystrophies in the long term.

Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Division of Neurology, Karolinska Hospital, Sweden

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 6:435-439. © 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Correspondence to Tor Ansved MD, PhD, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Division of Neurology, Karolinska Hospital, S-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden Tel: +46 8 5177 3702; fax: +46 8 5177 3757; e-mail:

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care 2003, 6:435-439

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.