Aerobic exercise -- like swimming, using cardio machines at the gym, or simply going for a brisk walk -- is not only possible when you have rheumatoid arthritis, it’s good for you, too. Aerobic exercise gets your heart rate up. It's great for your heart and lungs, and it also:
Helps you move better
Makes everyday activities easier
Lifts your mood
May lower joint pain
Boosts bone density
“I highly encourage all my patients to do some form of exercise," says physical therapist...
Most people with rheumatoid arthritis are faced with frequent or ongoing pain. While you may not be able to avoid pain, you can take control of the situation. Is the pain of rheumatoid arthritis starting to affect your life? There are specific positive steps you can take to live with it -- but keep it in its place:
Get Educated About Arthritis Pain
Understanding your pain will better help you deal with it. There are a number of types of pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
Acute pain from inflammation. Anyone with rheumatoid arthritis knows the pain that comes with a disease flare-up.
Pain from joint damage. Joints may become damaged over time by rheumatoid arthritis and cause pain even though the inflammation from arthritis itself is inactive.
Exacerbation of pain. After living a long time with pain and the other struggles of rheumatoid arthritis, you can get stressed and worn out. The real pain you feel is made worse by your emotional state.
Most people with rheumatoid arthritis will experience all of these types of pain. This can become a complicated and overwhelming situation and requires an overall approach.
There are educational programs available to help people who have to live with pain. The benefits they provide can make a big difference.
Learn how pain works, why it happens, and what it means.
Gain coping and life-management skills for when you are in pain.
Get trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy or biofeedback. These are methods of reducing the pain you feel by using the mind.
Contact the Arthritis Foundation to find your local chapter and sign up.