Scientists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have discovered a link between the amount of physical exercise, leisure time and a future risk of developing fibromyalgia. They also found that having a normal body mass index (BMI) was an integral part of the equation. This research was published in the May issue of Arthritis Care & Research. Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome characterized by widespread pain lasting more than 3 months, and tender point sites in the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms, and legs. Additional symptoms often include mood disturbances, fatigue, headache, sleep disturbances, and cognitive difficulty. The prevalence of fibromyalgia becomes more common with age and is a lot higher among women than men. “Women who reported exercising 4 times per week had a 29% lower risk of FM compared with inactive women,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Mork. “Similar results were found in the analysis of the summary score combining information on frequency, duration, and intensity of exercise; women with the highest exercise level had a somewhat lower risk than inactive women. The study further shows that a high BMI (i.e., being overweight or obese) is a strong and independent risk factor for future development of FM. Moreover, the higher relative risks for the combined effect of being overweight/obese and inactive, relative to being overweight/obese alone, point to a further disadvantage for overweight women who do not exercise.” Source: “Association Between Physical Exercise, Body Mass Index, and Rise of Fibromyalgia: Longitudinal Data From the Norwegian Nord-Trøndelag Health Study.” Paul J. Mork, Ottar Vasseljen, and Tom I.L. Nilsen. Arthritis Care and Research; Published Online: April 29, 2010 (DOI: 10.1002/acr.20118); Print Issue Date: May 2010.