Exercise and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arthritis, Healthy Aging, Healthy Living, Rheumatoid Arthritis
on June 27, 2011

Rheumatoid arthritis is a challenging disease that causes the inflammation of the joint linings. Unchecked, rheumatoid arthritis can lead to damage and loss of mobility in the joints. It may seem like exercise and rheumatoid arthritis doesn’t mix, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, exercise eases the effects of rheumatoid arthritis in many ways.

Get moving to ease the pain. In a six-week study founded by the Arthritis Foundation and published online at National Center for Biotechnology Information, a connection between remaining physically active such as by walking and an increase in joint function, balance improvement and pain reduction was strongly suggested. Getting active in other ways such as swimming and bicycling was also noted as being helpful in feeling better.

Exercise makes you happy. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, exercise and you’ll feel happier overall. The same Arthritis Foundation study also showed a correlation between exercise and an improvement in the confidence and physical abilities of the participants in the walking program. Exercise increases a sense of self-control over the quality of your life with rheumatoid arthritis. If you feel that you can do something to help yourself, you will feel more at ease and positive, less depressed and distressed — especially if the results are so encouraging and beneficial.

Use it or lose it. As with so many things in life, in order to sustain the benefits from exercise, you must keep up with an exercise program. Maintaining your health with rheumatoid arthritis is more than taking medicine, getting rest and eating right. Incorporating doctor-approved gentle exercise into your daily self-care regime is critical to being the best that you can be.

Stretch yourself. Trying things that are a little outside your comfort zone often provides a valuable personal growth experience. Stretching your body physically is a challenge that is just as worthwhile. Warming up before exercise protects your body from injury. The flexibility gained is helpful in everyday activities and can ease pain and tension, while keeping you as strong and limber as possible.

Mix it up. Whether or not you have rheumatoid arthritis, stay motivated to exercise regularly with variety. Changing up your exercise routine can actually help you push past plateaus in your fitness level. Try yoga, tennis or golf once you feel comfortable with your fitness level. Always stretch and stay hydrated and feel confident that you can have a big impact on your health by adding regular exercise to your life.