Saturday, October 23, 2010 V, Health Guide, asks

Q: Exercise Options...???

I have been told I am only to walk or swim for exercise. Swimming is an almost unobtainable option for me. I live in the country and commute an hour (total) every day to and from work. And the YMCA is expensive for just using the pool. The weather is turning colder, so walking will be an issue. I tried Yoga, but it tore up my shoulders, even though I really do enjoy Yoga. I guess I could get one of those walking DVD's and "walk" in place. Any other suggestions?
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Answers (9)
Lisa Emrich, Health Guide
10/23/10 2:51pm

Hi V,

 

Is there some reason that bicycling or pedalling are not recommended for you?  At one point my rheumatologist recommended I get an exerciser/pedaller to put in front of my chair and use while watching TV.  This is before I admitted to having a stationary bike which was gathering dust.

 

No matter what, you just really want to avoid high-impact activities which would put too much stress on your joints.  Perhaps try adapting your yoga practice to avoid injury.  Don't do the things which you know will cause trouble down the line.

 

I don't know.  Just trying to brainstorm.

 

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V, Health Guide
10/23/10 7:22pm

Hi, Lisa. I do have an exercise bike...ah hum...with a jacket draped over it at the moment. I really do not like staionary bikes, but that is a good idea. I should stop using it for a clothes rack. LOL 

 

Since I am so limited on my exercise, I guess it is one of the few options I have left, so I may as well get started. 

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betty fox, Community Member
10/28/10 1:21pm

I do have a peddler which is small and sits on the floor. It is metal and has  peddles like a bike but it can also be be set on a table to exercise your arms and shoulders. It was a good purchase. CryIt cost me $54 from a medical supply locally. But again it goes back to staying with it. I tend to taper off and then go back using it.

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V, Health Guide
10/28/10 9:08pm

Hi, Betty!  I SO know what you mean. I get into a routine, then I have a bad day or two or a bad week and it seems like I have to start all over again. I guess we just have to accept that these things are going to happen, and get back on that horse.....I mean bike! LOL

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Chuck, Community Member
10/23/10 12:51pm

Hey V

Check out myrafitkit.com  I have not looked at all of it but it seems to be pretty good.

Chuck

 

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V, Health Guide
10/23/10 2:51pm

Hi, Chuck. Thanks for the tip. I just tried to register, but I think there is a problem w/the site. I will check it again later.  Thanks again!  V

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Mike, Community Member
10/26/10 12:34pm

I've had the same problem with registration.

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betty fox, Community Member
10/28/10 1:22pm

I can't seem to find where to order it on this site??

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Chuck, Community Member
10/29/10 4:19pm

This site was advertised on TV about a week ago. I briefly looked at it and it seemed to be pretty interesting. Now, every time I go back I seem to run into a different dead end. The only thing I have exercised so far is my typing finger. Sorry I ever brought it up.

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Phyllis, Community Member
1/10/11 7:08pm

SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THIS SITE. PLEASE HELP CORRECT IT.

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Lene Andersen, Health Guide
10/25/10 12:45pm

we do have an excellent post on exercise with RA that may be helpful to you. You're right, swimming is a great option, but if getting there and going home again will wreck you, you have to question how much benefit you'd get out of it. As for yoga, when you have a chronic condition, it is important to learn from an instructor who can adapt the poses for you so you don't hurt yourself. You may want to check out Sara Nash's posts about yoga and RA for more information. As well, tai chi might be a good option for you, as long as you remember that if it hurts, don't do it. Walking can be surprisingly effective, as well. You may also want to ask your family doctor or rheumatologist for a referral to a physical therapist who can help you set up an exercise program that will help you get in shape while protecting your joints.

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Sher, Community Member
12/ 2/10 12:10pm

I have recently been diagnosed with RA and am on methotrexate and Plaquenil for one month. The effects have not "kicked in" yet. I am a nurse educator and have RN nursing students at the hospital two days a week with the rest of the week at school in the classroom or office. I have had fibromyalgia for 20 years as well. The last two days have been fairly good for me so I walked my new puppy down the street past five houses and by the time I had to turn around and go back home, both of my knees were about 5/10 on a pain scale. The pain increased for the rest of the evening to about 7/10 and I couldn't get to sleep. I haven't talked to my rheumatologist about pain control as yet and what I can do concerning walking. Should I push the limit on the walking, or stop when the pain begins or gets worse?

 

 

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Lene Andersen, Health Guide
12/ 2/10 8:54pm

First, congratulations on the new puppy! Cats are great, but they can be an extra benefit to people living with chronic illnesses like RA. They open you up, make you laugh even on the dark days and keep you moving.

 

In general, pain is a sign that you're overdoing it, so I would recommend slowing down on the exercise. You definitely need to keep moving to keep your joints flexible, but it seems as if you may not be quite ready for long walks yet. Methotrexate can take up to two months before it kicks in and Plaquenil about the same time or even longer. Once they do, you'll start to feel better and have more range. You should definitely talk to your rheumatologist about pain control, as well - some anti-inflammatories would be a good idea to help control the symptoms of inflammation and until the DMARDs you're on kicks in and you may also need it after that. You may also want to discuss getting a prescription for prednisone, at least temporarily - it can help bridge the gap between now and when your RA is better managed.

 

In terms of exercise, we do have a post on exercise that may be helpful to you. If there's a pool in your area, consider swimming or doing exercises in the water - the buoyancy of the water means that you can do effective exercise without putting too much stress on your joints. You may also want to ask your doctor for areferral to physical therapist who can help you put together an exercise program that will keep you moving without hurting your joints.

 

We have an excellent area for the newly diagnosed that has posts on various aspects of living well with RA and next week, I will be posting an article specifically for the newly diagnosed with links to all kinds of content that you may find useful (it will be in the flashbox on the front page - the box at the top that has a rotating articles). You may also want to check out our Welcome message for a basic introduction to our site.

 

Hang in there. You'll work your way through this and while you do, we're here to help you in any way we can.

 

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Lene Andersen, Health Guide
10/25/10 12:46pm

sorry, forgot linking to that post about exercise and RA.

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amber, Community Member
10/26/10 11:36pm

i have artritis in my ankle

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V, Health Guide
10/28/10 9:10pm

Hi, Amber. I think I am starting to have symptoms of ankle arthritis, too.  It does feel better when I exercise it though. Otherwise, it gets so stiff, and sort of pops.  Do you have the same problem?  Peace, V

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ronie, Community Member
10/27/10 11:51am

Give Tai Chi a try as well. 

If you need cardio turn on the radio or your favorite upbeat music and dance away.  Just modify the movement so you are not jumping around hurting yourself.  I have even danced while sitting in a chair in order to get a bit of cardio. 

I also have some of those stretchy bands to help tone (not build) my arm muscles.

 

Modify any exercise you want to do.  There is no reason to limit yourself to swimming and whatnot. hell, give all the suggestions a try, Just modifiy.

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V, Health Guide
10/27/10 7:24pm

I don't know what Tai Chi is, Ronie. I will look it up. I don't "get out" much. LOL

 

Dancing sounds fun to me, as long as no one is around to see my lack of grace.

 

I will try that. That sounds like my kind of exercise!

 

V

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V, Health Guide
10/27/10 9:48pm

Okay. I looked up Tai Chi and I ordered a DVD, "Tai Chi For Seniors". LOL  I'm 56 but I think I qualify as a senior, since my 83 year old father gets around better than I do most days.  Sealed  I will check it out and let you know. Sounds like fun to me. It is a sixty minute DVD. Woo Hoo!

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Sal B, Community Member
12/ 5/10 5:09pm

There's a Tai Chi for Arthritis DVD, and a separate handbook by Paul Lam. Try that, especially if you can't get to a class.  

 

I go to a Tai Chi for arthritis class and the exercises (particularly the warm ups) are designed with us in mind. I really recommend Tai Chi. It's gentle exercise, but helps pain and gives me energy.  Most importantly, it gives me confidence and improves my balance. I go even during a flare up, doing what I can. 

 

Good luck!

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betty fox, Community Member
10/28/10 1:13pm

I exercise but I will tend to do well for a few months but then taper off after a few weeks. It definitly helps my ra when I exercise, but I seem to stay with the trend. I don't have friends any more because I am not able to drive and I can't go and do the things I was once able to do. I once was very active and exercise 4-5 times a week, but now I am too exausted. I don't  go outside of home any more to exercise because it is too expensive since I was forced to retire five years ago. There are no support groups where I live. Another lady I know and I tried to get a group started but we had no interest.Cry

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V, Health Guide
10/28/10 9:16pm

Don't give up, Betty.  Maybe you and your friend could go to the mall or to Wal-mart and just walk there.  Then you could stop and have a cup of coffee or soft drink, or a healthy lunch. I know you must be tired and in pain, but being isolated isn't good for you mentally or physically. I am no expert or anything, but I really do feel for you. I think all of us have a tendency to draw back within ourselves when we are hurting and feeling alone. It is just a natural reaction, but it isn't good to give into that feeling for too long. Is there any arthritis support group in your area? Maybe you could call your local hospital and see if they have any type of "wellness" programs.  Good luck to you and best wishes. You are not alone, as you can see by all the people on this site.  God Bless, V

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G, Community Member
10/31/10 9:19am

hey V, I can understand about the drive when you live in the country, Our YMCA is $347 per year and they have 2 different water classes  1) range of motion 2) water arobics, first one is at 930am and second one at 1030am  For us working people that is impossible to do. My doctor suggested to get a portable hot tub and do the range of motion exersise, stretching, and just moving around in it. I looked into the prices and they are not that bad. 

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Elaine Jacobs, Community Member
11/ 1/10 10:14pm

I don't know the answer that.s why Iam here.

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By V, Health Guide— Last Modified: 01/27/13, First Published: 10/23/10