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Mixing Rheumatoid Arthritis and Exercise

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

In life, some things mix well—like peanut butter and jelly, salt and pepper, or sugar and lemon juice. Other things, however, are not great mixes, and can create dramatic results, like baking soda mixed with vinegar, or Mentos in coke. Many people expect mixing rheumatoid arthritis and exercise to be as messy for joints as a baking soda and vinegar volcano is for your kitchen; however, that’s not quite the case. Exercise, done carefully, is good for arthritic joints.


When your feet hurt and you’re tired, the last thing you want to try is exercise. Yet there are many benefits of careful activity. Rheumatoid arthritis stiffens and restricts joints, limiting your range of movement and making it harder for you to use your lower limbs. The best way to improve your flexibility and restore your range of motion isn’t to ignore the problem, but to stretch and be active. Using your joints prevents them from getting too stiff to move.


Movement can be painful with rheumatoid arthritis, however, which is why many people aren’t interested in exercise to maintain joint health. To work, people need to select exercise activities carefully. You want to stick to exercises that will keep your joints moving without aggravating them or causing additional damage.


What does that look like? Well, here are a few ways to mix rheumatoid arthritis with exercise and for it to benefit your joints:

  1. Stick to low-impacts – Hard impacts can damage joints. Stick to low-impact activities like swimming, yoga, biking, or even water aerobics and tai chi to get moving.

  2. Exercise throughout the day – Exercising all in one burst may wear you out when you’re already susceptible to fatigue. Instead, be active multiple times a day in shorter bursts.

  3. Stretch regularly – Stretching helps improve flexibility in joints, improving your range of motion.

  4. Mix strength training and aerobics – Lifting weights builds up power while aerobics boost your cardio. Both are healthy and don’t require joint strain.

The key to exercising with rheumatoid arthritis is being careful and not pushing your joints past what they can handle. Our team at Gulf South Foot & Ankle, LLC will help you establish a safe exercise plan for your lower limbs so you’re able to be active and still benefit your joints. Don’t let rheumatoid arthritis keep you from being active or healthy. Contact our Metairie, LA, office at (504) 708-4810 for more information today.


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