Recently, a wonderful woman from the East Coast sent me a message asking about arthritis and exercise. I would like to share my response so that anyone suffering from RA, has additional information on exercise and fitness. Here are my recommendations;
1.) get Dr.’s permission to exercise
2.) once your Dr clears you to exercise, please check out
3.) avoid high impact exercise
4.) in my experience there are good days and bad days with RA. Some people are sensitive to humidity and notice symptoms flare. Please listen to your body and when your symptoms flare, take a day off.
5.) exercise in a cool room whenever possible
6.) The lightweights you have are a great place to start. There’s no need to lift heavyweights with RA.
7.) the CDC recommends that everyone can break up their exercise throughout the day. I really like this approach for RA. As always, check with your Dr., and consider doing just the weight training section of my DVD in the AM, and just the flexibility in the PM. The next day, do just the cardio. You can cycle exercise that way, and let your body adapt to training again with RA.
8.) if you ever have access to a pool, even if it’s only on vacation, you don’t have to swim to benefit from training in the pool. Walking forwards, backwards and sideways gives you a fantastic workout with little weight on your joints.
9.) Please check with ACE (American council for exercise), as they will have local recommendations for trainers who work with RA. If that does not pan out, please ask your rheumatologist for a prescription to see a physical therapist. Many times insurance will cover part of this work, and the PT can assess the level of pain in each joint, so as to prescribe the correct exercise.
10.) Make sure that you have good, supportive athletic shoes (nothing more than 2 years old).
Please call your Dr., get clearance to exercise, start with my DVDs, and then get a Rx for physical therapy from your rheumatologist.