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Flexibility Exercises to Help Your Rheumatoid Arthritis

Moves to do to help your RA.

Try Yoga and Tai Chi for Better Balance

You’ll do slow, controlled movements that are good for range of motion and 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," she says.

After Exercise

Keep your moves gentle. They should feel good. Don't stretch so much that you're sore afterward. Try moist heat or ice for comfort after exercise.

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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