Is It Safe to Exercise With Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Read Transcript

Exercise is excellent for any type of arthritis. So the problem with exercise is that it's counter-intuitive. If your joint hurts, your body is telling you, rest it, don't exercise, so what we tell our patients is, that on a good day, they do a little bit more exercise, on a bad day they do a little less. Now, it's very important for us as rheumatologist, to point out to our patients that when you're younger, at least as a male, no pain no gain, so you face your way through the pain.

That's not true when you have Rheumotoid arthitis, listen to your arthritis, and you always want to practice range of motion, so you want to preserve range of motion and the natural tendency with Rheumatoid Arthritis is flexing contraction where you can't straighten everything out, so always practice range of motion which has, it puts very little stress on you, and then what we always ask them to do, is conditioning exercises that help you get stronger, not bulking exercises where you lift heavier weights every time.

So typically, when somebody has a personal trainer, the personal trainer wants them to progress and go from five pound weights to 10, to 15, to 20, 25, and get stronger and stronger. That's hard on the joints, so we always tell our patients, go with low weights, stay with low weights, add repetitions, condition the joint, because, in fact, we do want them to keep their joints strong because that way they protect them and keep them from being injured, keeps them from falling and breaking a hip, but they need to be very careful, because on a bad day, they need to do less.