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Rheumatoid arthritis and exercise

It’s not unusual for those with debilitating pain to avoid exercise, but did you know for many conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, not only can you exercise safely, but exercise can help alleviate some of your pain and help you build muscle strength.



Medical experts suggest that if you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis exercise can be one of the best things you can do for your condition. Not only does exercise help you live longer, it can strengthen your bones, improve your functional ability to care for yourself, and help relieve stress, making it easier for you to cope with your condition.

What are the best exercises for rheumatoid arthritis?


As you age it’s not unusual for you to modify your exercise program. What you may have done when you were twenty years old such as step aerobics, basketball, kick boxing or running may no longer feel good, but there are still certain kinds of exercise which are proven to be safe for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

What types of exercises do experts recommend?



  1. Stretching- whether it’s a great yoga class, pilates or stretching on your own, a daily regimen of stretching for at least 10 to 30 seconds for each muscle group is critical to maintaining your flexibility. It is simple and easy and can be done anywhere.

  2. Strength training- lifting weights is critical for athletes and individuals of all ages, but if you have arthritis it is critical to developing lean strong muscles which will allow you to do more exercises pain free.

  3. Aerobic exercise- whether it’s walking quickly on a treadmill or walking outside in your neighborhood, cardiovascular fitness can improve your mood, strengthen your bones and muscles and make your heart healthier. Common aerobic exercises that can be done with rheumatoid arthritis include bike riding, walking, swimming or using an elliptical machine. Start slowly and remember any exercise is better than no exercise. Aerobic exercise can also be beneficial for maintaining an ideal body weight, which can help eliminate a variety of other health concerns and conditions which stress the body.


What exercises should I not do with Rheumatoid arthritis?

While experts do recommend getting cardiovascular exercise and lifting weights, they do advise against overdoing it. Do not attempt to do exercises which put too much stress on your joints. This can include lifting heavy weights and running, especially outside on a hard surface such as asphalt or concrete.

The key is to talk to your doctor and find out what they recommend. They also may be able to refer you to a physical therapist so they can create an exercise program that can help make you feel healthy and strong.

Social Security Disability Insurance and Rheumatoid Arthritis


If your condition is so severe you are unable to work for at least 12 continuous months and you are insured for SSDI, you may be eligible for benefits. Talk to a disability lawyer if you have questions about the requirements.
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