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Flexibility Exercises and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Moves to do to help your RA.

Try Yoga and Tai Chi for Better Balance

These flexibility exercises can help with RA because they offer slow, controlled movements. They are good for range of motion as well as balance.

Tell your yoga teacher you have RA so she can adapt certain poses that might be tricky. You can also use foam yoga blocks to help support your body during poses. Listen to your body, and only do what's comfortable for you.

Or try tai chi. Like yoga, it's great exercise, but it's not too hard on your joints, Davis says.
There's another benefit. "From what [people] tell me, the meditation element of yoga and tai chi helps with pain control," says Davis. "Not a lot of people with RA can take pain medication, so they use meditation and it helps."

After Exercise

Don't stretch so much that you're sore afterward. For comfort after exercise, try moist heat or ice.

Heat wraps, warm showers, and warm, wet towels give deeper relief than dry heating pads. People with RA can be sensitive to extreme temperatures and chemical-based heat packs, so use towels between the pack and your skin.

Many people also don't like ice. It makes them so tense that their muscles don't relax. But if ice works for you, go for it.

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Reviewed on October 28, 2013

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