10 Best Exercises to Reduce Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain
Arthritis is one of the most common ailments affecting the elderly (and even the middle-aged). Painful stiff joints, chronic pain, swelling, redness in joints are some of the common symptoms of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common types of this painful ailment.
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?
It’s an auto-immune disease, where your body attacks the lining of your joints, treating the lining as an injury or diseases. RA causes inflammation in your joints which in turn leads to stiffness, swelling, and pain that can last for hours or remain chronic.
Wrists, fingers, shoulders, elbows, feet, ankles, neck, hips and knees are the common joints that are affected by RA. It doesn’t just affect your joint but also attack other vital organs like the nervous system, blood vessels, muscles, and heart.
Common Symptoms of RA:
- Joint swelling, stiffness, tenderness, and lasting pain
- Pain or difficulty moving your joints for everyday tasks
- Warmth, swelling or redness near a joint
The Right Exercises – The Best Way to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis Naturally
Exercising is very often the last thing on the mind of people suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis. Your joints ache even when you do simple, daily tasks like getting out of bed, walking up and down stairs, bending and picking up objects. Why would you want to further aggravate the pain by exercising?
Wrong! Years of research and study show that the less you move your joints, the weaker and the more painful they become. You need to remain physically active and reap the benefits of doing exercises to overcome the pain of RA.
Now, that doesn’t mean you have to reach for the biggest pair of dumbbells you can find and start exercising. While exercise is essential to improve the mobility of your joints, reduce the severity of pain and to improve the overall quality of life, you need to ensure that you are doing the right type of exercises.
How to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis?
While treatments vary from person to person, depending on the severity of the condition, the right exercise, healthy balanced diet and rest are essential to managing the condition successfully.
10 Best Exercises for People with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Don’t use your Rheumatoid Arthritis pain as an excuse not to exercise. Look for low-impact exercises for rheumatoid arthritis pain. Get moving with these ten expert-recommended exercises for RA.
- Water Aerobic Exercises: When you exercise in water, the water helps to support your body weight, thereby the movements you do don’t impact heavily on your joints. Water aerobics, swimming, and other gentle water exercises can help you add strength to your weak joints, increase range of motion and flexibility. It also helps to reduce the stiffness of your joints.
- Pilates: This is another low-impact activity that helps to strengthen your joints and the muscles surrounding your joints. If you are new to Pilates and suffer from RA, look for Pilates classes that use a mat and not a machine.
- Tai Chi and Yoga:
Both Tai Chi and Yoga have flowing movements, with gentle poses, deep breathing, and meditation. These slow movements help you improve balance, and add flexibility and range of motion to your joints while reducing stress.
Before you join a yoga or tai chi class, look for classes tailored specifically for people suffering from joint pain and arthritis.
- Zumba: The Latin-inspired dance fitness craze is a low-impact aerobic exercise that is not only good for your joints but also helps you burn calories. However, make sure that you don’t overdo it and check with your instructor before you start a class.
- Walking: Unlike running or jogging, walking is a low-impact exercise that boosts joint and heart health, while providing you with aerobic conditioning. Before you start walking, ensure that you have the right pair of shoes that provide you with the right support. Start slow, stay hydrated and increase your pace gradually.
Cycling is another great low-impact activity that not only eases joint pain but also boosts your heart health. A stationary bike is a great way to relieve the stiffness in your joints.
- Strength Training: Don’t fear to pick up weights. This is because the stronger your muscles are, the lower the strain on your joints, which in turn, reduces inflammation and pain. Use free weights, resistance bands and weight machines to build muscle mass. Start small and increase the intensity gradually. Strength training 2 – 3 times a week is enough. Make sure that you work with a personal trainer who knows your condition so that you avoid triggering joint pain.
- Hand Exercises:
As most exercises focus on the major muscle groups, you need to pay special attention to your fingers and hands, as these joints are the most affected by RA. Simple hand exercises like curling fingers, spreading fingers wide while resting your hand on a table, bending wrists up and down add flexibility and strength to your hands.
- Stretching: Stretching helps to reduce stiffness, increase flexibility and boost your range of motion. Start your mornings with a quick stretch routine, especially if your RA symptoms flare up as soon as you wake up. Walk or stand in place while moving your arms for 3 – 5 minutes. Then gently stretch all major muscle groups and hold each stretch for 10 – 20 seconds. Make sure to include proper stretching routines along with your other exercises to avoid joint pain.
- Get Fit at Home: Yes, you can exercise at home without having to join a gym or enrol in an exercise class. Gardening, cleaning the house, and sweeping the floors are all good ways to enjoy a great workout at home, without stressing your joints.
Listen To Your Body
Exercising is the best natural treatment for joint pain and RA. However, make sure that you don’t overdo it. If you notice any flare-ups, make sure to take sufficient rest before continuing. Always consult your doctor or physical therapist to help you choose the right type of exercises to reduce joint pain.
Don’t forget the right accessories. The right shoes, supporting equipment can help you reduce the pain in your joints while exercising. You can also find a wide range of gadgets to help you deal with painful everyday tasks like walking up and down stairs, opening doorknobs, jars, and bottles. Check out our site to pick the right gadgets and accessories to reduce joint pain.
Stay active and Stay Pain-free.