6 Exercises That Really Work on Rheumatoid Arthritis

Updated on February 24th, 2020
exercises for rheumatoid arthritis

Joint pain and stiffness are the immediate effects of arthritis. Due to these symptoms, medical science designates arthritis as one of the most painful conditions. Performing exercises for rheumatoid arthritis daily not only reduces the associated pain but also proves beneficial in other ways. For instance, it also boosts the mood and promotes the movement of muscles.

While many exercises help in getting relief from arthritis, it is essential to consult a doctor before working out a schedule for it. Depending on their health, a doctor can recommend particular types of exercises to them. Exercises for arthritis produce the best results when you perform the ones that are in line with your needs.

Bizzare Facts

  • According to a study conducted on 29,000 women, women with low vitamin D levels had the highest risk of having an RA.
  • Did you know that exercising at least three times a week can slow your aging process?

Best Exercises for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Exercises prove to be useful when you perform them in conjunction with rheumatoid arthritis physical therapy. Depending on your condition, a certified doctor may recommend one of the exercises given below.

[Also Read: Natural Remedies to Treat Arthritis]

1. Stretching

Stretch Hand

Contrary to the misconception that stretching for Rheumatoid Arthritis(1) can increase the pain in the joints, it is the opposite. It improves the movement of muscles and joints. Plus, the flexibility can also eliminate stiffness in the joints of people with RA.

The routine for performing these exercises may vary from individual to individual, though. To make your exercise routine more effective, you should include the following aspects in your stretching routine:

Walking for 3-5 minutes during the warm-up session instead of pumping the arms for the same duration.

Continuing a stretch for a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 20 seconds without either under-performing or exceeding the margin.

[Also Read: Hand Exercises for Arthritis Pain]

2. Walking

Walking is a low-impact yet efficient workout for people with RA. It also boosts the mood. Thus, it is the best exercise for rheumatoid arthritis. But for desirable results, you need to make sure of a couple of things.

Ensure your shoes are comfortable while walking. If they are too tight, you might get blisters and not walk properly.

When walking, you must increase the pace gradually. Don’t try to run or jog at high speed in the beginning.

Staying hydrated is also equally important. Regardless of whether a walking session is strenuous or not, it is essential to drink sufficient water to prevent dehydration.

3. Yoga

Yoga is renowned around the world as one of the easiest ways to stay fit and active in everyday life. It is also beneficial for those who have rheumatoid arthritis. Yoga asanas that involve gentle poses, flowing movements and deep breathing promote balance and flexibility of joints. Also, they help release stress.

For reaping the full benefits of performing yoga asanas for arthritis, it is imperative to include meditation along with it. Plus, consulting an expert is vital to perform the exercises safely.

4. Pilates

Nothing gives the muscles and joints a good workout better than Pilates. For people who wish to build muscle strength with a low impact workout, Pilates is the ultimate option. However, its effectiveness depends on the way its performed.

Those who are new to it should consider using a mat. Furthermore, you should include only those exercises in your routine that help build muscle strength. Consulting an expert would help you get the right guidance in this regard.

5. Cycling

Rheumatoid arthritis(RA) increases the risk of developing cardiovascular problems. Riding a bicycle, or even a stationary bike, is one of the best ways to improve one’s cardiovascular fitness.

Apart from providing aerobic conditioning, cycling also helps you with RA in other ways. It plays a vital role in building endurance and leg strength by increasing the range of motion.

[Read: CBD Oil for Arthritis]

6. Strength Training

Stretching your muscles is a smart way of eliminating the pain in the joints. Pulling a resistance band with force and then releasing it repeatedly can help accomplish the task. In addition to providing relief from the stiffness of joints, it strengthens the muscles. Therefore, RA-affected people should think about adding it to their daily routine.

Choosing the right kind of strength training exercise would depend on the condition of an individual with RA. A physical therapy expert’s guidance can help simplify matters in this regard.

For staying healthy and fit, there is no substitute for exercises in one’s life. If done correctly, each of the aforementioned rheumatoid arthritis exercises(2) can produce the same effect for people with RA.

Being mindful of small things – like being consistent, using the right accessories for protection and comfort, and adjusting exercises according to the symptoms – can make a big difference. At the same time, listen to your body and stick with a physical therapist’s instructions to stay clear while performing these workouts.

[Also Read: Essential Oils for Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis]


1. Is It Safe to Do Exercises for People Who Have Rheumatoid Arthritis?

It depends on an individual’s condition. Consulting a physical therapy expert and doing exercises according to one’s symptoms and requirements can help you in avoiding complications.

2. Is Rheumatoid Arthritis a Form of Cancer?

If you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you may be at increased risk for certain cancers because of RA medications—or RA-related inflammation itself. The best thing you can do is to be aware, but don’t worry, excessively.

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