If you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) you know that exercise is good for you. But finding the time energy and motivation to actually get started can be difficult. This is especially true when you are in pain.
But studies have shown that RA patients who exercise experience less pain than other RA patients. Exercise can help elevate your mood improve joint function and prevent muscle wasting and weakness.
Here are seven exercises specifically for people with RA.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention people with RA experience greater health improvements after participating in hydrotherapy (exercising in warm water) compared to other activities. ResearchTrusted Source shows that people with RA participate in There is less pain and joint tenderness with hydrotherapy. The spa also improved their mood and overall well-being.
Water sports such as swimming and water aerobics can also improve the use of the affected joints and reduce pain.
Tai Chi (sometimes called “moving meditation”) is a traditional Chinese martial art that combines slow gentle movements with mental focus. This exercise can improve muscle function and stiffness and reduce pain and stress levels in people with RA. Participants in a study credible Sources say that after practicing Tai Chi she feels better and has a brighter overall view of life.
You can purchase DVDs to help you get started or take courses in your area.
Getting your heart pumping is essential if you have rheumatoid arthritis. This is because people with RA have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and complications. Cycling is an excellent low-impact exercise that builds joints more easily than other cardio exercises.
Cycling helps maintain cardiovascular health increases leg strength and reduces morning stiffness. You can join a cycling group by cycling outdoors or use a stationary bike at the gym or at home.
A walk in the park might sound too easy but it’s one of the easiest and most convenient forms of exercise. In addition to getting your heart rate up walking can relax your joints and help reduce pain. Studies have found that walking for 30 minutes a day can also boost your mood.
If you’re having trouble with your balance try using crutches to help stabilize yourself. If the weather gets you into trouble head to an indoor track or treadmill.
Yoga which combines postures with breathing and relaxation can also help improve RA symptoms. Research shows that young people with RA who practice yoga experience improvement in pain and mood. Johns Hopkins scientists found similar results: tenderness and Joint swelling than before yoga practice.
“Yoga or yoga stretches can help patients improve flexibility and range of motion,” said Dr. Mario Siervo director of medical staff operations at Leon Medical Center.
Healthcare professionals often recommend stretching for people with RA. “Stretching should include arm muscles back muscles buttocks thighs and muscles in the front and back of the calves,” says Dr. Philip Conversa an orthopedic surgeon in California. “Do some stretching first Instead of taking a coffee break or stretching for a few minutes at the office take a break in the morning. ”
Dr. Naheed Ali author of Arthritis and You recommends curled fingers flexed wrists and extended thumbs.
RA often causes muscles to weaken which can exacerbate joint pain. Strength training can help reduce pain and increase muscle strength. Stronger muscles support your joints better and make daily activities easier.
Try to lift weights at home 2 to 3 times a week. You can also try resistance bands as long as your fingers and wrists are in good condition. If you’re concerned about lifting weights yourself or using resistance bands talk to your doctor and consider working with a personal trainer.
Whatever exercise you choose the important thing is to stick with it. Some days you may feel more miserable than others. It doesn’t matter. Just do a lower intensity exercise on those days try a different type of exercise or take a day off.
Use a resistance band around your forearm if your hands can’t hold the weight. If all you can do is walk go for a walk outside. Even if it’s slow you’ll probably feel better afterwards.