Exercise For Those With Rheumatoid Arthritis
Working out in itself places a taxation on the body. We tend to think of exercise as a way of breaking down the body, when it actually has absolutely amazing "building up" properties. Building muscle is by far the most obvious of the benefits to exercise, but when you look past the superficial layer of "fitness", you open your eyes to an entirely new world of benefits. From mood enhancing, improved brain function, bone strengthening, to improved heart health, what lies beyond building muscle is a world full of opportunity to better one's life. While exercise is being used more and more for cosmetic/aesthetic purposes, it's time we really dig deep into the therapeutic aspect of exercise. In this article I will be discussing how exercise benefits those with rheumatoid arthritis.
So what is Rheumatoid Arthritis? Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects the joints. This usually makes it harder for those with RA to move around. As inflammation increases, use of joints decrease (as well as joint pain increases). Being a chronic disorder, RA is a lifelong struggle that many face on a day to day basis. With that in mind, we must do what we can in reducing inflammatory flares and spreading important information to those with RA that will improve their condition.
Exercise and Rheumatoid Arthritis
Many with RA feel the need to reduce activity due to joint discomfort (and even pain). The old thought process of "rest your joint to recover" is long gone and left behind for a good reason. Physical activity can reduce joint pain, increase function, and quality of life. According to this study those with RA improved their condition through physical activity. It was not low intensity, but rather higher intensity physical activity that was more effective!
Guidelines For Exercise/Supplementation
Exercise performed by an individual with RA should be supervised by an experienced profession and should be initiated at a lower intensity. Those with RA should exercise with a controlled manner (slower tempo) to reduce risk of injury. They should also avoid high intensity training (and is not conclusive if should be exercising at all) during inflammatory flares. Exercise should be continued long-term for maintenance of benefits (be able to keep benefits of exercise). As a part of your exercise regime, monitoring your diet and implementing antioxidants/anti-inflammatory supplements are vital towards reduction in inflammation. Supplementation of omega 3's such as from fish oil has been shown to reduce inflammation. Much like any other physical pursuit in fitness, both diet and exercise plays an important role in the endeavor of reducing chronic inflammation.
The time of being sedentary due to inflammation is over! Exercise is an important tool used to reduce chronic inflammation due to Rheumatoid Arthritis. Though exercise should be performed, modifications are needed in order to reduce risk of injury.