Exercise in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) can help abate some of the common symptoms such as fatigue, stiffness, pain and weakness. But what type of exercises are the right ones?There are various forms of exercise, but the most effective for RA are:
strength, dynamic range of motion exercises.
In two separate studies it was found that dynamic exercise can improve muscle strength and joint mobility in with patients with RA whether it is inactive or active without negatively affecting the disease process. Some examples of dynamic exercises are’ swimming, cycling, brisk walking, house cleaning and weight training. Strength or weight training can involve simple exercises at the bench like squats or small weights focusing on high repetitions and low weight. In addition to this, another study found that those who did not participate in a regular and supervised exercise program had more pronounced joint damage on radiographic imaging.
With all of this in mind, here are our top 4 exercises:
- Swimming/water exercises low weight through the joints while combining dynamic movement and strength/resistance on both upper limb and lower limb muscle groups
- Hand and wrist mobility Gentle mobility through the available range
- Combining stretching with strength, suitable for all affected age groups with varying levels of difficulty depending on the disease severity e.g. yoga, pilates Tai Chi, Exercise class with physiotherapist or relevant instructor
- Brisk walking Similar to water based and class based and suitable as able in terms of severity of lower limb joints affected
This video also has 5 tips for exercising with Rheumatoid arthritis.