Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) includes more than one joint and is a systemic disease that affects the immune system. Studies have shown that regular exercise in rheumatoid arthritis and physical activity can prolong life and make life healthier and happier among people with RA.
RA, however, is one of the most important conditions that limit movement and cause weakness over time. It has been observed that those who are inactive and have a low level of physical activity tend to develop worse deterioration, decreased pain tolerance, weak muscles, stiff joints and poor balance than those who are physically active. Therefore, exercise is an important part of managing RA.
Exercise for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Physical activity refers to daily tasks, including professional and wellness tasks, which are usually affected by rheumatoid arthritis.
People with RA who exercise regularly have better tolerance for pain, optimal joint flexibility and movement for longer periods of time, more energy, better sleep, better perception of the disease, stronger muscles, less stiffness, better balance, and better day-to-day day functioning.
Exercises recommended for patients with rheumatoid arthritis should be started slowly and performed at low intensity to ensure a safe, long-term and successful exercise program.
Safe exercises for rheumatoid arthritis
Exercises are usually held at three levels:
- Medical or rehabilitation.
- Recreation and wellness.
Ideally, there should be a balance between these levels. Prescribed or therapeutic exercises usually focus on the mobility and functioning of certain joints or body parts affected by rheumatoid arthritis, or surgery performed to correct joints or pain. This is the first step for inactive and less physically active patients with limited articular movement, decreased muscle strength, and recovery from surgery for RA.
After the initial phase, you can engage in activities such as walking, running, skiing and swimming. They can be carried out in a controlled and safe manner to minimize the risk of personal injury.
The third level is competitive exercises that require more skill and training, and are performed for a longer period. They are suitable for early patients with RA but are not suitable for advanced cases.
The four main types of exercises include:
They, as they are called, help to improve the movement and range of motion of the joint. They also provide better posture and balance. These exercises help reduce joint stiffness the next morning. It is recommended that stretching exercises be performed at least 3 days a week with each stretch held for about 30 seconds.
These are more intense exercises. They are suitable after the muscles are strengthened by flexible exercises. Stronger muscles improve movement and prevent bone loss. Usually, this is a set of 8-10 exercises for the main muscle groups of the body 2-3 times a week. There should be 8-12 repetitions of each exercise. Resistance or weight should be intense enough for the muscles to work without increasing joint pain.
These are mainly cardiorespiratory exercises that use the large muscles of the body in a repetitive and rhythmic manner. These muscles increase the reserves of the heart and lungs. They can reduce weight; improve sleep and mood, as well as overall health. Recommended safe forms include walking, aerobic dance, water exercises, cycling or stationary bicycles, treadmills or elliptical trainers. Current recommendations for aerobic activity are to do 150-minute exercises of medium intensity per week, extended for a week.
Body Awareness Exercises.
These include exercises such as tai chi and yoga. These days, they form an important part of rheumatoid arthritis management with mental and physical benefits.