Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease where your immune system mistakenly attacks your joints, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. Slowly decreasing your ability to use certain parts of your body RA will make activities that require strength difficult, such as the use of your hands to open containers.
It can also affect your ability to bathe, groom, and dress yourself.
Although RA isn't curable, there are effective ways to manage your symptoms and prevent permanent damage.
While flare ups may come and go, research shows that a consistent exercise regimen decreases the intensity and duration of RA related pain, while increasing strength, endurance, and flexibility.
Here are 5 exercises shown to manage Rheumatoid Arthritis.*
Walking: Walking is one of the most important exercises you can do. Good for almost any disorder it's a joint-friendly activity that won't stress the body.
Start your walk at a slow pace, about half of your normal speed. Do this for five minutes.
After five minutes, move into a normal walking pace for another five minutes.
Accelerate your pace a little bit more (5-10% faster than your normal pace), and maintain this pace for 15 minutes. Don't overexert yourself during this time. Rest when needed.
Cool down by resuming your normal walking pace for five minutes.
Touch Toes/Touch Sky: This exercise is highly beneficial for your shoulders, hips, and joints. While it may be challenging at first, it will become easier with practice.
Start by standing upright, feet approximately 12 inches apart. Your arms should be hanging by your side.
Slowly lift your arms above your head. Push your hips forward and pull your shoulders back simultaneously to ensure that you are as upright as possible. As if trying to touch the sky. Hold this pose for three seconds.
3. Slowly lower your arms while bending your hips and knees until you touch the floor or reach
as far as possible. Keep your head up and try not to round your back. Hold for three
seconds, then slowly stand and repeat.
Goblet Squat With Overhead Reach: The goblet squat is an excellent lower-body strengthening exercise. By adding the overhead reach, you can increase your upper-body strength and endurance.
Start by sitting towards the front of a chair while holding a light weight cradled in your hands at about chin height with your palms facing one another.
Carefully stand up, then push the weight overhead; hold for three seconds. Resist the temptation to hold your breath.
Slowly lower the weight back to chin level and return to a sitting position. Try to perform this repitition12 times. Rest for 45 seconds, and repeat for three sets of 12.
Thread The Needle: This exercise can strengthen and increase the mobility of your spine, shoulders, and hips. It also helps to ease pain and tension in those areas.
Start in all-fours position on the floor with your arms straight, your knees directly below your hips, and a straight back (neither sagging nor arching.)
Keep one hand on the floor, then sweep your other arm toward the ceiling while turning your head to follow your hand. Hold for three seconds.
Bring your arm back down and slide it underneath your upper body until your shoulder touches the floor.
4. Return to the starting position then repeat on the other side. Do 10 repetitions on each side.
Ball Leg Lifts: This full-body workout is a bodyweight exercise that focuses on movement precision during core muscle activation, which increases its intensity. The large sweeping leg and arm movements can be challenging at first, but with consistency, you'll see steady improvement over time.
Start by lying flat on your back on the floor with a large ball securely placed between your legs. Ankle level.
Place your arms straight out to your side.
While keeping your knees straight, lift the ball straight up overhead by bending your hips.
Lift your head and upper back off the floor, touching the ball with your hands.
Lower your upper body back to the starting position, then lower your legs and the ball slowly back down to the floor while continuing to keep your legs straight.
6. Complete three sets of 15 repetitions.
*If you have health or mobility issues that may present problems, consult your physician before commencing in any exercise activity.