In addition to stress management and getting plenty of rest, physical activity is a one of the most efficient ways to fight RA. Many RA patients wonder if it is safe for them to exercise but research suggests that it is actually one of the best things an RA patient can do for their self. As always, you should consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. For an RA patient exercise can strengthen muscles and bones, develop a better range of motion, and fight stress and irritation in the body. When you are tired and your joints are aching, it may be the last thing you want to do, but adhering to a regular exercise program can greatly improve your quality of life. Just start slowly and don’t overdo it. Your body will tell you what its limits are. Just keep building on that. If you are feeling pain in a specific area, then just let that part of your body rest. You don’t want to stress inflamed joints. Three types of exercise have been deemed as beneficial for RA patients: stretching, conditioning, and strengthening.
Stretching is perhaps the easiest and least time consuming exercise to add into your daily routine; just 10-20 minutes of stretching will improve flexibility.
Conditioning exercise is not just beneficial for relieving RA pain, but it can also improve your overall well-being. Many doctors recommend low-impact conditioning such as walking, swimming, stationary biking, or elliptical training. Any of these will increase your heart rate and get that blood flowing! Even by adding just 20-30 minutes of low-impact cardio, you are keeping that heart healthy, possibly preventing disability, and improving your mood.
Strengthening exercises work the muscles against resistance and can help you in your daily life by increasing the amount of things you can do without feeling pain. You should start out slowly and build up your stamina, especially if you have been inactive for a long period of time.