The 9 best exercises to relieve rheumatism pain

For people with rheumatism, or rheumatoid arthritis (RA), physical exercise can be extremely beneficial in relieving joint pain and stiffness. Exercise and stretching can be especially helpful during a flare-up.

People with RA who exercise may find that they suffer less than those who do not. Exercise can reduce painful symptoms, improve joint function and flexibility, increase range of motion, and boost mood.

The Best Exercises for Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain

The following types of exercise can help relieve pain, joint stiffness, and other symptoms that RA can cause:

1. Stretches

Stretching can help improve flexibility, reduce stiffness, and increase range of motion. Daily stretching, ideally in the morning, is important for relieving RA symptoms. The ideal stretching routine will be different for each person and will depend on the joints affected and the symptoms that manifest. However, stretching often involves slow, gentle movement of the knee, hand, and elbow joints.

A typical stretching routine may consist of:

– Warm up by walking in place or by moving your arms while sitting or standing for 3 to 5 minutes.
– Hold each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds before releasing it.
– Repeat each stretch 2 to 3 times. Using a yoga strap can help people maintain good form while stretching.
Many people will find it beneficial to work with a physical therapist who understands RA to learn the proper way to perform stretches that meet their personal needs.

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2. Walk

Walking is a low-impact form of exercise that can help with aerobic readiness, heart and joint health, and mood.
It is essential to wear appropriate shoes and to stay hydrated, even if the walk is not strenuous. It’s often a good idea to walk slowly at first, then increase the pace when possible.

3. Fluid movements, such as tai chi and yoga

Tai chi and yoga both combine deep breathing, flowing movements, gentle poses and meditation. They increase flexibility, balance and range of motion while reducing stress. There are tai chi or yoga exercises specifically designed for people with RA.

4. Pilates

Pilates is a low impact activity that stabilizes the joints and strengthens the muscles around them. People new to Pilates should start with a routine that uses a mat rather than a machine to build muscle strength safely.

5. Exercises in the water

Water helps support the weight of the body, which means that aquatic exercises do not have a major impact on the joints.
Swimming, water aerobics, and other freshwater exercises can increase flexibility, range of motion, strength, and aerobic fitness. They can also reduce joint stress and stiffness.

6. Cycling

As RA increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, it is vital to keep the heart as healthy as possible. Riding a stationary bike can be a safe way to get joints moving and improve cardiovascular fitness. In addition to improving aerobic fitness, cycling can reduce stiffness, increase range of motion and leg strength, and build endurance.

7. Muscle training

Strengthening the muscles around affected joints can help increase strength while reducing pain and other symptoms of RA. Using a resistance band is one of the best ways to challenge the body and build muscle over time. A physical therapist who works with people with RA should be able to advise on appropriate exercises.

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8. Hand exercises

RA can sometimes lead to limited use of the hands. Bending the wrists up and down, slowly curling the fingers, spreading the fingers apart on a table, and squeezing a stress ball can all help increase hand strength and flexibility.

9. Gardening

Besides being a form of exercise, gardening offers the benefit of improving mood. People should be gentle with their bodies, work slowly, and avoid overstraining muscles and joints.

Exercises to avoid in case of rheumatism

People with RA should avoid vigorous exercise or exercise that causes pain. such as exercises that involve impact on the joints: jumping, racket games. These can be high-impact exercises that put excessive strain on the joints. However, there are no specific exercises that everyone with RA should avoid. Every person is different, and an activity that causes pain for one person may not have the same effect on another person. What is good for a person depends on their situation and state of health. However, everyone has every interest in taking care of their body.


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