Exercises For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which joints become painful, stiff and tender and there is a high risk of disability altogether. In such a case, to maintain the mobility of the joints, exercises for rheumatoid arthritis are essential. The amount of exercises a patient of rheumatoid arthritis should do depends much on how active is his or her disease is. If it is very active, the patient should be careful while doing the exercises. The best thing to do is to do the activity under the supervision of physiotherapist. Once the physiotherapist decides which type of exercises you should do and design a schedule for them, you can do those exercises at home.

As per the Arthritis Foundation, the right program of exercise can help you to ease joint pain and increase energy level and muscle strength. An exercise program containing cardiorespiratory, resistance and flexibility exercises should be followed by RA patients. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) opines that gradually progressing from flexibility exercises towards resistance training and then to aerobic exercises is good for rheumatoid arthritis.

There are several exercises specifically designed for each joint, such as for neck, girdle, shoulder, wrists, ankles, or spine. It is believed that exercises done in water are the best for rheumatoid arthritis patients to apply minimum strain on the joints. A warm hydrotherapy pool is the best place to do exercises for rheumatoid arthritis for this very purpose. Water provides the necessary buoyancy to remove pressure from the joints and it also provides resistance which tones the muscles.

Aerobic exercises like biking, dancing and walking are also good because they help to control weight and include the movement of whole body. The ACSM recommends that aerobic exercises should be done for three to five days in week. According to the strain felt, 20 to 60 minutes of exercises should be performed per session.

If the rheumatoid arthritis is limited to feet, hands or neck, you can use an exercise bike as the knees are unaffected. But you should still do it under proper supervision.

Exercises For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Strength training exercises denote exercises done against some sort of resistance. The resistance may be the person’s own weight, hand weights, machines, or tubing. It has been found out that this type of exercises can stabilize the joints, reduce stress on them and even may slow down the process of cartilage destruction. These should be done for two to three days in a week as per the ACSM.

Practicing yoga is also recommended by the Arthritis Foundation, as it helps in increasing stretch range of the muscles and reduces swelling and pain.

Flexibility and range of motion exercises are useful to relieve symptoms and ACSM recommends holding stretches for 15 to 30 seconds. The range should be pain-free and at the same time you should feel tightness.

It is strongly recommended not to take up exercises during pain in any case. Pain is the cry of the body to show you that it is hurt and you are doing too much strain. If the pain lasts for more than an hour, it is sure that you have done exercises more than required. Also you should monitor, if there is a swelling on the joints after any exercise, because it is not a good sign and you should stop that exercise. It is wise to take painkillers and heat therapy before and ice pack after the exercises for rheumatoid arthritis.