Motion is Lotion
People seem to get the misconception that since I have Rheumatoid Arthritis my disease should prevent me from doing extra curricular activity. In actuality, if I stop moving around, I will make my disease worse.
Motion is lotion!
It’s a fact that people who exercise with or without rheumatoid arthritis live longer and healthier lives. People living with Rheumatoid Arthritis are encouraged to exercise because it can provide pain relief and build muscles for extra strength support on achy and thinning bones.
There are plenty of people in the RA community that continue to work out like they have been able to before being diagnosed with RA; i.e. running, lifting, hiking, biking and triathlon-ing. The only difference now would be that some movements may be harder and some days may be tougher to get to the gym. When I have my painful days, it is best that I move a little to relieve pain and stress-stretching is the best for me on bad days.
Exercise is also a great distraction from thinking about your RA. I know for me, exercise is and has been a great therapy session-it’s a good feeling to not think about my disease for an hour. I have my good days, when I can workout hardcore and lift to the max; and I have bad days when I can’t move from the couch. When I exercise, I feel like a regular person without this disease and that’s an important feeling to feel. I feel like I’m strong, healthy and I can compete with the best of them. I love Crossfit and running but I have to know and put my limits on myself so I can prevent injury. At Crossfit, I always asked my coach for modified movements, but I feel like I get the same workout. Just because I have RA, does not mean I’m immobile.
Important things to remember when you’re going to start a new/continue an exercise plan.
- Stretch-this is important! You don’t want to strain or sprain any muscles in the process of feeling better. Stretching will increase your range of motion.
- Modify-talk to an instructor or coach and ask for modified movements.
- Listen to your body-if you can’t do certain things, then don’t push yourself.
- Low Impact-if you’re going to start a new exercise start with yoga, water aerobics, walking/elliptical or swimming.
- Equipment-if you feel like your body can take high impact workouts like running, lifting and high active sports, use the proper equipment for protection.
- Consult your doctor before doing new activity and see what other options they can provide.
And lastly, know that YOU ARE STRONGER THAN RA!!!