Adherence and satisfaction of rheumatoid arthritis patients with a long-term intensive dynamic exercise program (RAPIT program)




To evaluate adherence and satisfaction of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in a long-term intensive dynamic exercise program.


A total of 146 RA patients started an intensive (strength and endurance training for 75 minutes, twice a week, for 2 years) exercise program (Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients In Training) aimed at improving physical fitness. Program attendance and satisfaction were examined. Additional assessments at baseline were done to find possible predictors of attendance.


Median (interquartile range) age and disease duration of the patients were 54 (45–61) and 5 (3–10) years, respectively. After 2 years, 118 (81%) patients still participated in an exercise class. The median attendance rate of all patients was 74%. Low attendance was weakly associated with high disease activity, low functional ability, and low quality of life at baseline but not with the severity of joint damage at baseline. At the end, 78% of all participants would (strongly) recommend the program to other RA patients.


Adherence and satisfaction of RA patients with an intensive dynamic exercise program over a prolonged time can be high. Disease severity parameters do not strongly predict the compliance of participants in an intensive exercise program.