Exercise With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Exercise With Rheumatoid Arthritis

The struggle is real. Your body is aching, your joints are sore, you are tired and there is no way you are going to workout but what if I tell you that exercising is actually very beneficial, especially when you are suffering with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Does Exercise Help With Rheumatoid Arthritis

The answer is yes and here is why. When you are suffering with Rheumatoid Arthritis it is important to move, your joints get stiff and they need to get warmed up and moved. Not only that, as your joints are already weakened it is only good to have some extra muscles support around them to help when you are dealing with a flare up. As we have discussed previously, Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect your mood, exercising helps release endorphins in your body to make you feel good and feel happy, this can be crucial if you are suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis linked depression and anxiety. By exercising you are helping your body with its mobility which is very important since you have an illness that greatly affect it. If you want to read more on how Rheumatoid Arthritis affects your body then please read Cortisone Injections For Rheumatoid Arthritis.

How To Exercise With Rheumatoid Arthritis

I have always been a very active person, this in combination with food is probably why I have not been needing medications as much as the next person. However, when exercising it is very important to at least begin with a low impact workout. As your body grows stronger you will be able to increase your workouts and their impact level on your body but before, especially if you have never exercised before, please start of slow. This will not only help your body adapt but it will also allow you to not get bored and ease into your new regime without causing excessive pain and harm to your body.



Best Exercises For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Like I mentioned above you should start out with a low impact workout, that will still challenge you but will but little stress on your joints. Personally, I love going on an exercise bike. I have just started again, ready to lose the prednisolone weight.

If you have an exercise bike at home this is perfect, you can put on an episode of your favorite tv-show and bike through the whole episode. Remember to listen to your body. If it hurts too much than please do not push yourself to hard.

Going on walks is also a very good way to start out, whether on a treadmill or outdoors.

Yoga or stretches can be extremely good for your body as your joints and muscles have a tendency to tense up due to pain, yoga and other stretches will help you release some of the pain and the tension. Never push yourself into a stretch, but allow your body to take it´s time and you will notice a difference with time.

Swimming is something I used to do weekly, afterwards I would sit in the sauna for a bit and allow my joints to relax.

Even other forms of water activities can be good, such as water aerobics. Water really lowers the impact the movements have on your joints and it also helps with the weight of your body. I am not against any body types what so ever but it is to be considered that your body weight can contribute to joint pain, especially in your knees and feet as that is what carries you.

Since I gained weight I have started to feel my knees more, which I never really did before. I am not over weight and I have never really been underweight but small increases can have a negative impact and increase your joint pain.

Strength training should be done in moderation when starting out because you might end up hurting yourself more if not done correctly, if you are used to working out with weights than keep it up. If you decide to start weight training, which I am all for as it does help your body carry and support you, especially when you are in pain. This is a very good way to reduce pain and keep your body healthy. If you are new to this than please talk to your gym instructor and let them know which joints that are affected as they can help you create a program that can work those muscle groups with as little impact and stress on your joints as possible.

Pilates is also a really good way to start out. It is low impact and has proven to be of great benefit to people with rheumatoid arthritis, the only downside is that a lot of the exercises is done by laying down, which can sometimes be hard for someone with Rheumatoid Arthritis, getting down on the floor might be something you want to avoid, if you are comfortable getting down on the ground than this is a good, low impact challenge, which can easily be adjusted to fit any level of fitness.

Zumba is something that I love. It can be a bit challenging to begin with but you can still adjust it to your level, take a break if you need to. What I like about it is that it does not feel like a workout and you are having fun whilst doing it. You have support from the class and everyones fitness level is usually very different.

Home Exercises For Rheumatoid Arthritis

It depends on what equipment you have at home however a lot of exercises can be done with zero equipment and all you need is YouTube and perhaps a yoga or exercise mat

I most often do yoga at home and it does not require much.

Before doing anything you need your body to be warmed up. You can warm your body up by just walking in place for a couple of minutes. I than actually go onto YouTube and search for a yoga routine. You might even want to do this the night before, it does not have to be very long but if you have never down yoga before than please try to find a beginners’ yoga and depending on how your body feels a low impact yoga routine. 15 – 20 minutes might be all you need. Do not push yourself if it is to painful.

I also have weight bands at home. This is something I do recommend as they are low impact and very easy to use. You can use these in combination with stretching. If you are looking to get some weightbands these are the ones that I am using ;13 pcs resistance set and I purchased mine from ebay.


Exercising with Rheumatoid Arthritis is something that can be hard to start with due to how your body feels and the pain you experience but remember that it will also benefit your body greatly. In the long run it will benefit you more than anything, it will help you keep your body strong and your muscles will help you when your joints are painful. It might not always be easy to start but you need to remind yourself of why you are doing this. I am in more pain now that I have not worked out in a long time compared to when I used to workout every day. One thing that I have noticed the most is how much my back have started aching and that I do not have as much energy as before, I feel more tired and more unmotivated.

Start of slow and add on little by little. No matter what anybody says, you can still do anything even though you have Rheumatoid Arthritis, it might just take you a little bit longer to get there but believe me you will.

I did everything they told me not to do and I am still here, on little to no medications.

I hope you enjoyed the reading, please leave any thoughts, questions or comments below.

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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. The struggle is definitely real. My mom has rheumatoid arthritis, and it definitely has impeded on her workout schedule! She loves to get in physical exercise, but lately her RA has been so bad she just hasn’t been willing to squeeze it in, which is completely understandable. 

    I don’t like to see her in pain, and I know that not being able to fit in her exercises is upsetting to her, so I’m really glad you posted this article! I’m gonna be sure to share it with her on her facebook page, I know she will appreciate the quality content on here, I know I have! Again, thanks so much for the post, she’s gonna love it 🙂 hopefully she’ll be able to get back into her routine a little bit! 

    1. Thank you so much for reading. I do hope your mom will feel better. There are plenty of things she can do that might assist her with her pain. Hopefully she will be able to get back into some exercises soon. 

  2. Thanks for this information Alexandra. It had been a year since I restarted regular exercise. I am doing regular toning and weight training but I have always felt that I needed to do something else that would help my whole body and especially that right knee. I think I am going to do some regular planned walking, and some yoga morning stretches. I expect it will reduce that achy body and get those joints moving. It really is an investment in my health ! Good reading

    1. Hi JJ, Thank you for reading. I am glad to hear that you are working out. Take care of that knee, perhaps even try swimming as it will take the weight of your knee and it will probably relax the muscle and release some of that achenes you have been feeling.

  3. Hello Alexandra,

    I have read your article on Exercise With Rheumatoid Arthritis. Exercising with Rheumatoid Arthritis is something that can be hard to start with due to how your body feels and the pain you experience but remember that it will also benefit your body greatly. One thing that I have noticed the most is how much my back have started aching and that I do not have as much energy as before, I feel more tired and more unmotivated. I am in more pain now that I have not worked out in a long time compared to when I used to workout every day. 

    1. Hi, That is something that can happen, as when you do not exercise your body will get more stiff and that will increase the pain you can experience from Rheumatoid Arthritis.

  4. Hi Alexandra,

    I have greatly benefited by reading your reviews related to exercise and rheumatoid arthritis. Although I have no problem with Arthritis, I learned a lot from the review article. Pilates & Zumba exercise is particularly notable that I heard first. Thank you sincerely for this wonderful article. I’ll bookmark your page.

    1. Thank you for reading. I am glad that you found it beneficial even though you do not suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis.

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