To improve overall health, regular physical activity for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and exercise are recommended. People with this disease are not excluded.

Are you surprised that experts recommend a movement for people who live with chronic arthritis pain? It seems contradictory, right? Let’s look at the recommendations, as well as why this is not as far-fetched as it seems.

There are real benefits associated with regular exercise and exercise, even for people with RA. For clarity, physical activity is defined as the body movement created by skeletal muscles, requiring energy expenditure. Exercise is included in the section “physical activity”.  Causes of autoimmune diseases .

Misconception about rheumatoid arthritis exercises

It is clear why people living with chronic pain can associate movement with increased pain. This is especially true for people with moderate to severe pain. In fact, regular physical activity with rheumatoid arthritis and exercise does not worsen your arthritis. Exercise can:

  • Relieve pain.
  • Increase the strength of the muscles that surround your joints.
  • Help maintain the strength of the bones.
  • Increase flexibility.
  • Improve your energy level.
  • Improve your sleep quality.
  • It will help control your weight.
  • Balance improvement.
  • Mood improvement.
  • Reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (general concomitant condition associated with RA).
  • Improving or maintaining physical function.
  • Improve overall well-being.  Early signs of RA.

Once you realize that there are potential benefits if you still have an internal dialogue that suggests that you simply cannot play sports, think again. It is the lack of exercise that enhances joint pain and stiffness. It also causes muscle weakness, which leads to insufficient support for your joints.

The most common misconception is that someone with rheumatoid arthritis cannot do enough to make a difference. Really, any movement is better than no movement. Your muscles must work to stay as strong as possible. However, the level of exercise should be appropriate for you, taking into account your level of illness.

Before starting a regular exercise regimen, you should discuss the appropriate exercises with your doctor. Your rheumatologist can offer a consultation with a physiotherapist or a limited number of physical therapy sessions to get you on the right track. After you have given an exercise plan designed for you and shown how to perform the exercises correctly, you can be sure that what you do is useful and not harmful.

Useful physical activity for rheumatoid arthritis

You can expect your exercise regimen to include some range of motion exercises, strengthening exercises, and aerobic exercises. Range of motion exercises include movements that put your joints in their full range of motion. Ideally, you should do this daily.

Strengthening exercises are designed to strengthen muscles and thus protect and support your joints. Strengthening exercises (for example, strength training) are usually associated with the use of light weights, performing a certain number of repetitions, two or three days a week, and not daily.

Aerobic exercise is also sometimes called endurance exercise. Low-impact aerobic exercises are logically optimal for a person with arthritis to minimize joint stress. Low impact aerobic exercises include cycling, walking, swimming and using the elliptical machine. There are also recumbent elliptical machines that may be more suitable for some people with rheumatoid arthritis.  Muscle and joint stretching exercises .

People with RA should also explore other gentle forms of exercise that focus on balance, coordination, stability, flexibility, and even relaxation. Yoga, Pilates, tai chi and Zumba are options.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, regular physical activity for rheumatoid arthritis helps with arthritis and other conditions affecting the joints. If you have arthritis, research shows that from 130 to 150 minutes a week with moderate intensity, low-impact aerobic activity can not only improve your ability to cope with pain and perform everyday tasks, but it can also improve your quality of life.

Setting regular exercise to life with RA

For someone who has RA, it can definitely be difficult to determine the best time to workout. Morning stiffness is a common characteristic associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Many patients will say that morning and exercise do not mix. After morning stiffness, people with RA are usually involved in daily activities – work, household chores, shopping, doctor appointments – all that needs to be done must be done. But towards evening or night, people with RA are usually too tired to train.

Our lives are not all the same, so a universal recommendation cannot be made. But you must set aside the best time and do it. If it is not possible to set aside an entire hour, put your routine into manageable chunks of time. Exercise is as important as eating, sleeping, hygiene, or any other required activity in your life.  Sleep with rheumatoid arthritis .

Athletes with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Olympic snowboarder Spencer O’Brien participated in the 2018 Winter Olympics. She has rheumatoid arthritis. People who watched her compete were wondering how was this even possible with RA?

Jerry Strackner from Carlisle, Kentucky, lives with RA. “I am co-administering a Facebook group called Athletes Beating Rheumatoid Arthritis.” We have athletes of every type – runners, triathlons, skaters, golfers, riders, ”she shares. “Athletes with RA face various challenges. Many people in the group have articular replacements. I have a rear shoulder replacement. One amazing young woman is she is an experienced triathlete and with two hip replacements. We discuss drugs, diet, and the changes we need to make. One athlete went from a runner to a cyclist. One of them has gone from gymnastics competitions to teaching and coaching. All that unites us is that movement helps move on. ”


There is sufficient evidence that regular physical activity in rheumatoid arthritis and exercise provide numerous health benefits for people with RA, without aggravating symptoms or worsening overall damage. Do not interfere with perceived barriers to exercise.  How to treat rheumatoid nodules ?

  • Start slowly. Start with three to five minutes twice a day.
  • Set realistic goals.
  • Keep a diary and journal so you can evaluate progress and identify any problems. It will also help you stick to your commitments.

The difference between someone with an RA doing exercise and someone with an RA who doesn’t do this is that whoever exercises finds a way to overcome the barriers to exercise. It is all about readiness and commitment.

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