People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who exercise may find that they have less pain as opposed to those who do not. Exercise may reduce painful symptoms, improve joint function as well as flexibility, increase range of motion in addition to boosting mood.
It is best to look for medical advice before starting any exercise programme. Work with a doctor and a physical therapist to develop a tailored exercise plan. Exercise increases strength and flexibility, lowers joint pain, and assists with combating fatigue. Of course, when you are already suffering from stiff and painful joints, the mere thought of walking around the block or – alternatively – swimming a few laps may seem to be overwhelming.
However, you don’t need to run a 5-k marathon or swim as fast as an Olympic competitor in order to help reduce arthritis symptoms. Even moderate exercise may ease your pain and help you to maintain a healthy weight. When arthritis threatens to immobilise you, exercise keeps you moving.
Walking is an easy, low-impact aerobic exercise which nearly anyone can do irrespective of fitness level. Walking strengthens your bones as well as muscles, increases your range of motion and – in addition – shifts pressure and weight from joints and muscles in order to reduce pain from arthritis. Have a plan to walk for at least 150 minutes every single week so that you can benefit from reduced arthritis symptoms.
For the gold standard in low-impact exercise, we suggest swimming or water aerobics. It’s joint- and cardio-friendly at the same time, plus has some other arthritis benefits. In a pool that’s between 23 to 29 degrees, swimming is a non-weight-bearing exercise that also gives you aerobic activity, plus the warmth of water helps with circulation as well. Improving circulation can also improve joint health, carrying important oxygen and nutrients to joint tissue.
Yoga is another low-impact exercise which can help you to build strength, improve joint function, reduce joint inflammation as well as minimise arthritis-related pain. Find a qualified yoga instructor who will be able to show you a gentle, easy yoga routine for beginners that involves movements and asanas that protect your joints, while improving your strength and flexibility. Try not to do asanas that require you to balance on one foot or that bend joints to more than 90 degrees as these movements may worsen symptoms if you’re at a beginner’s fitness level.
Pilates is a low-impact activity which can increase flexibility for improved joint health. It can be useful to do Pilates poses which activate the core muscles and emphasise movements that assist with stability. Pilates may be good for overall movement patterns, similar to tai chi and yoga.
People new to Pilates should begin slowly and seek guidance from a certified trainer if possible.
Strength training exercises – such as weightlifting, push-ups, and squats – help you strengthen bones and muscles to support joints, while also decreasing pain, stiffness as well as swelling. Work with an expert physical therapist or fitness personal trainer who can help you to develop a strength-training routine comprised of movements which are safe as well as ideal for your type of arthritis.
Prior to your workout session, warm up utilising gentle stretches in order to loosen your joints as well as lower the probability of damage that may worsen pain and swelling. In addition, try limiting strength training to times of the day when arthritis symptoms are minimal and you can exercise freely, without experiencing pain.
If you would like to discover additional information about exercise then you need to do our Personal Training Diploma. Follow this link to learn more.