Healthy Living

Working Out With Rheumatoid Arthritis

working out with rheumatoid arthritis

Working Out With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Daily exercise is important for anyone to maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent disease. For people who have chronic rheumatoid arthritis, though, this is much easier said than done. 


It is important to exercise safely for the benefit of one’s overall health. Many studies have looked at the effects of exercise on patients with rheumatoid arthritis, reporting that people with RA who engaged in regular exercise had increased muscular strength, aerobic stamina, and physical function. Also, slight improvements were seen in bone density, and some also noticed a reduced progression of joint damage on radiographic imaging. The muscles that support the joint can be made even stronger through exercise. This keeps the bones strong and enhances the patient’s quality of life. To fight other chronic diseases, such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, daily exercise is important. Staying fit maintains a healthy weight and aid’s mental health, too.

Be careful

According to one study, however, joint damage can become worse due to exercise. Still, daily exercise like strength training and aerobics is recommended. People with problematic joints, such as in rheumatoid arthritis, should be very careful; exercise should be tailored to each individual’s needs. Before you start a program, talk to your doctor. Seek help from a trainer who has worked with people suffering from joint issues. The first step for people with RA is stretching. It prepares you for any exercise and activates your muscles and joints. To help mobilize stiff joints and tense muscles, a pre-work out stretch is very important.

Take a break

It is equally important to have rest periods. Do not push yourself too much and be sure to pay attention to your body. Don’t feel bad if your friend does more than you are able to, since everyone has their own limits. Allow your body to heal if you have joint complaints. For people with RA, psychotherapist Desmond Thompson McPherson has suggested some form of routine exercise. People with RA can benefit from three components of exercise. The first is to engage the joints in full range. This helps to fight stiffness as well as improve flexibility and mobility. Certain aerobic exercises can help one’s overall fitness, build their stamina, and improve cardiovascular health. Strengthening exercises are also very important, as they condition the muscles so they can support the bones and joints. These three basic aspects of exercise, if incorporated, will bring great health benefits.

Some helpful exercises

People with RA are recommended to take up walking and cycling. The knee joint is strengthened by cycling, and walking is a low-impact form of aerobics that won’t strain your joints as much. Hip exercises or leg presses are a few recommended strengthening exercises, as they can condition the muscles that support the large joints of the lower back and legs. However, do these at your own pace to avoid damaging any sensitive joints. Do not strain your body either. The elliptical is another helpful machine at the gym due to its strength conditioning and aerobic qualities. Again, use at your own pace. Work with a trainer to set a level that is good for your body.