Stay Active & Stay Healthy: RA Fitness
Developed with the assistance of Marian A. Minor, PT, PhD
Did you know that regular exercise is one of the most important things people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can do to stay healthy? It can even help manage many RA symptoms.
We know this because many people have participated in RA exercise research. The studies listed at the end of this article show that most people with rheumatoid arthritis can improve their health and fitness by exercising regularly.
People with RA who exercise regularly can also reduce pain, stiffness, fatigue, and feelings of depression, as well as lower their chances of developing osteoporosis. Neither your age nor how long you have had rheumatoid arthritis is a barrier to a healthy and successful RA exercise regimen.
Get advice before you start
For people with RA, the challenge often is to figure out what kind of exercise they can and should do. If you have been physically active and participated in regular exercise and sports in the past, you may need to learn new ways to keep being active. And if you did not exercise before, you will want to develop exercise habits that you can maintain.
Doctors and other health professionals who work with people with rheumatoid arthritis know that regular exercise is a necessary part of being healthy. They can help you figure out what exercise to do.
RA fitness programs may be available in your community through organizations such as the Arthritis Foundation and your state's Health Department. In addition, you can also build a customized RA fitness program for free with the My RA Fit Kit.