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Exercising With Rheumatoid Arthritis

By Len Canter
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Different from osteoarthritis, which is the wear-and-tear breakdown of joint cartilage experienced over time, rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune disease that causes both pain and intense fatigue.

When you're in the throes of a flare, exercise may seem like mission impossible and you might be advised to rest until it passes. But exercise is an essential part of an overall treatment plan to ease RA symptoms and improve mobility. Aim for a weekly routine that includes stretching, cardio and strength training.

Stretching boosts flexibility and range of motion. First, warm muscles with 5 minutes of light movement, then do a series of stretches to target all muscle groups. Always hold each stretch for 20 seconds. Yoga and tai chi are specific activities that increase flexibility and may even help ease the emotional stress of RA. To learn the basics, take a class or work one-on-one with an instructor, at least at first.

You can get the benefits of cardio with low-impact exercises, which are easier on your joints than a pounding activity like running. Walking is great, but swimming and water workouts put even less stress on joints because of the buoyancy of the water.

Support your joints by strengthening the muscles around them with resistance exercises. You can use stretchy resistance bands if weights are too hard to manage. Pay special attention to the muscles surrounding the joints most affected by rheumatoid arthritis, but don't neglect other muscle groups.

Work with your rheumatologist or a physical therapist familiar with RA to develop an individualized plan and ask how you should tailor your activities when a flare strikes.

More information

The Arthritis Foundation has more tips to help you find the best exercises when you have RA.

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=736344

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Arthritis
Arthritis, Rheumatoid
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Water
The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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