Diet and Exercise

Six Tips for Exercising with Rheumatoid Arthritis

The HealthCentral Editorial Team May 10th, 2013 (updated Jun 8th, 2016)
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Use ice before exercising
Use ice before exercising

Cold can decrease pain and swelling and reduce muscle spasms. It blocks the release of histamine which decreases the feeling of pain. Cold packs, ice massage, and cold baths can help.

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Suit up
Suit up

Use splints or braces to protect vulnerable joints.

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Try hydrotherapy
Try hydrotherapy

Exercising in warm water can decrease the load on weight-bearing joints, such as hips and knees. Water provides support, assistance, and resistance.

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Do range of motion stretches every day
Do range of motion stretches every day

Activities such as yoga and tai chi increase joint mobility. Doing range-of-motion exercises in the evening can reduce joint stiffness the next morning.

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Walk, bike or swim for 10 minutes
Walk, bike or swim for 10 minutes

You can do up to 120 minutes per week at low to moderate intensity. Aerobic exercise improves the health of heart and lungs.

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Warm up and cool down
Warm up and cool down

Build this time into your workout. Stretching exercises increase flexibility and the elasticity of muscles and tendons.