Introduction/objectives: Reproductive labour refers to activities and tasks directed at caregiving and domestic roles, such as cleaning, cooking, and childcare. Productive labour refers to activities that involve economic remuneration. The aim of the present study was to analyse physical activity, sedentary behaviour, physical fitness, and cognitive performance in women with fibromyalgia who engaged, or did not engage, in productive work. Method: This cross-sectional study comprised 276 women with fibromyalgia from Andalusia (southern of Spain). Levels of physical activity (light, moderate, and vigorous) and sedentary behaviour were measured by an accelerometer. Physical fitness and cognitive performance were measured with a battery of performance-based tests. Results: More hours/week of homemaker-related tasks were associated with higher time spend in light physical activity and lower sedentary behaviour (P < 0.001 and P < 0.05, respectively). Furthermore, in comparison with those who only engaged in reproductive labour, women with fibromyalgia who engaged in productive work showed lower levels of sedentary behaviour and higher levels of light and moderate physical activity, physical fitness (except muscular strength), and cognitive performance (all, P < 0.05). Conclusions: Altogether, our findings suggest that productive work is consistently related to better physical and cognitive functioning in women with fibromyalgia. If future research corroborates causality of our findings, then, to maintain women with fibromyalgia engaging in productive work may be strived for not only because of societal or economic reasons but also for better health. However, we should keep in mind that people with fibromyalgia have a chronic condition, and therefore, adaptations at the workplace are imperative.Key Points• Women with fibromyalgia, who spend more time in reproductive labour, have higher levels of light physical activity and lower sedentary behaviour; however, it is associated with poorer general health (as lower physical fitness or cognitive performance).• Household tasks are often seen as a responsibility associated with the gender roles that women with fibromyalgia perform, despite the feelings of incapacity they cause. Policies focused on reducing reproductive labour demands for fibromyalgia patients (i.e. social help on housework or childcare) might facilitate the inclusion of daily active behaviours.• People with fibromyalgia who engage in productive work seem to have better health outcomes than those who have not; however, we cannot forget that adaptations and flexibility at the workplace are imperative.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Chronic pain, Domestic work, Household chores, Household tasks, Housework, Reproductive labour
Persistent URL,
Journal Clinical Rheumatology
Álvarez-Gallardo, I.C. (Inmaculada C.), Estévez-López, F. (Fernando), Torres-Aguilar, X.C. (Xitlali C.), Segura-Jiménez, V. (Víctor), Borges-Cosic, M. (Milkana), Soriano-Maldonado, A. (Alberto), … Girela-Rejón, M.J. (María J.). (2019). Physical activity, sedentary behaviour, physical fitness, and cognitive performance in women with fibromyalgia who engage in reproductive and productive work: the al-Ándalus project. Clinical Rheumatology. doi:10.1007/s10067-019-04750-8