Improving resistance training in people with rheumatoid arthritis: A foundational behaviour change science approach

Resistance training has been shown to improve myriad health indicators, including quality of life, in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, resistance training participation rates among people with RA are remarkably low (1-14%), even in those with well-controlled disease. Anecdotally, unique barriers exist that prevent those with RA from participating in resistance training, including fear, health care provider knowledge, and functional limitation.

Resistance training-specific promotional efforts are sorely needed; however, understanding and research into changing resistance training behaviours is only in its early beginnings. The barriers to participating have yet to be scientifically explored and the state of behaviour change theory testing in resistance training behaviour is almost non-existent.

Dr. Ma’s will conduct a four-phase study to better understand the barriers and facilitators to resistance training, select promising behaviour change theories, and develop knowledge tools proposing resistance training interventions. The overarching aim is to launch the field of resistance training behaviour change, aid the uptake of guidelines, and improve health outcomes for patients with RA.