5 Exercises For Rheumatoid Arthritis
There are 5 exercises for rheumatoid arthritis that are very important to help with pain and keep the muscles strong. Exercise is important for everyone, but for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis, it is crucial for the mobility of the joints. Some people with rheumatoid arthritis take steroids which thin the bones. Exercise can keep bones strong. Exercising also allows individuals to be more functional and require less help, which in turn makes them feel better about themselves.
- Working with a treatment team can be beneficial. Often the rheumatologist will work with a physical therapist to create an exercise plan to meet the specific needs of the patient. The physical therapist can identify problem areas and determine what exercises would address the problems, and how vigorously the individual should exercise.
- There are three types of exercise that are safe for individuals who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. Stretching, strengthening, and conditioning are important for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis to keep joints mobile, strengthen muscles, and help with overall health.
- Stretching is important for everyone. Stretching is the basis for any exercise program, but is important to rheumatoid arthritis sufferers because it helps with mobility of the joints. The purpose of stretching is to move the muscles and joints a little above their normal range of motion. The positions should be held from fifteen to 30 seconds each. There are specific areas that should be stretched, such as the latissimus, the triceps, the calf, the quadriceps, the groin, and the hamstring. The stretches should be done gradually and should not cause pain.
- Strengthening muscles occurs by moving them against some resistance. There are two types of strengthening exercises: isometric and isotonic. Isometric exercises involve the tightening of a muscle and holding it against some type of resistance without moving the joint (e.g. tightening the thigh muscle and holding it). Isotonic exercises involve the movement of a joint through its range against some type of resistance (e.g. lifting free weights). Three of the strengthening exercises are the chest fly, bicep curls, and the lateral raise for the deltoid muscle.
- Conditioning exercises improve cardiovascular fitness and provide aerobic benefits. Some exercises that provide conditioning are walking, swimming, riding a bicycle, and doing exercises in the water. Establishing a target heart rate will determine how hard the individual should exercise to get the most benefit from the workout. In addition to making heart and blood vessels healthier and preventing disability, they can improve well-being and mood. These exercises should be done 20 to 30 minutes several times a week.
- Certain exercises should be avoided when you have rheumatoid arthritis. Exercises that are considered high impact or put a lot of stress on a joint should be avoided. These exercises include jogging on a hard surface or lifting heavy weights. If the individual wants to do these exercises, a doctor should be consulted.
- Some communities have exercise programs designed for individuals with arthritis. There are two specific programs that have been created for people with arthritis, People with Arthritis Can Exercise (PACE) and the Arthritis Self Help Course (ASHC). These programs are offered by the Arthritis Foundation.