7 Exercises That Can Help

If you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you probably 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're dealing with painful, stiff joints.

Exercise can help people with RA:

  • pain relief
  • Improve joint function
  • strengthens the muscles around the affected joints
  • boost energy
  • enhance mood
  • Improve daily operations

Here are seven exercises that are especially beneficial for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Compared with other types of activities, people with RA experienced greater improvements in their health after participating in hydrotherapy or exercising in warm water, the report said.

result from Review of large studies RA patients who participated in hydrotherapy were found to have less pain and joint tenderness than those who did not attempt the activity. The study also suggests that spa therapy may also help improve mood and overall well-being.

Water sports, such as swimming and water aerobics, may also help improve use of the affected joints and reduce pain.

Tai Chi, sometimes referred to as “moving meditation,” is a traditional Chinese martial art that combines slow, gentle movements with mental focus. This exercise improves muscle function and stiffness, and reduces pain and stress levels in people with RA.

one of the results study of RA patients found that practicing tai chi helped reduce anxiety and depression, and improved self-esteem, self-efficacy, and motivation.

First, you can purchase DVDs, take online classes, or register for classes 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 a heart-healthy exercise. This is an excellent low-impact exercise that builds your joints more easily than other cardio exercises.

Cycling helps maintain cardiovascular health, increases leg strength, and reduces morning stiffness. You can ride your bike outdoors, join a cycling group, 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 raising your heart rate, walking can help relax your joints and reduce pain. Research published in 2015 showed 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 keeps you stuck inside, consider heading to an indoor track or jumping on a treadmill.

Yoga, which combines posture with breathing and relaxation, can also help improve RA symptoms. A 2013 study looked at the impact of Iyengar yoga on the quality of life of a small group of young women with RA. Research shows that practicing yoga can improve their pain and mood.

In a study published in 2015, from Johns Hopkins University Similar results were found: RA patients experienced less joint pain and swelling after practicing yoga than before. The study involved a small group of adults aged 18 and older who lived a sedentary lifestyle.

“Yoga or yoga stretches can help patients improve flexibility and range of motion,” says Dr. Mario Siervo, a primary care physician in Florida.

Health care professionals often recommend stretching for people with RA.

“Stretching should include muscles in the arms, back, hips, front and back thighs, and calves,” says Dr. Philip Conversa, an orthopedic surgeon in California. “Do some stretches in the morning, take a break instead of coffee, or stretch for a few minutes at the office.”

Dr. Naheed Ali, author of Arthritis and You, also recommends curled fingers, slight wrist flexion, and thumb extension.

RA often causes muscles to weaken, which can exacerbate joint pain. Strength training helps increase muscle strength. Stronger muscles support your joints better, reducing pain and making daily activities easier.

Try to lift weights at home 2 to 3 times a week. You can also use a resistance band, as long as it doesn't increase your risk of RA complications or worsen the effects of current RA on your fingers and wrists.

If you're not sure if you're going to lift weights or use a resistance band, 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. When this happens, try to reduce your intensity of exercise, try a new low-intensity exercise, or take a day off.

If you don't have enough hand strength to hold weights, you may want to consider using a resistance band around your forearm.

If walking seems to be the best option for you one day, consider taking a walk outside or walking inside. Even if you need to walk at a slower pace, you can still benefit from exercise because it has the potential to help you feel better afterward.

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