Range of Motion Exercises for Rheumatoid Arthritis

If joint pain and stiffness make you want to skip a regular exercise routine, consider this: Research shows that physical activity actually improves the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. 

Exercise strengthens the muscles around the joints and helps lubricate the cartilage, reducing swelling and pain

It also curbs fatigue -- and you don’t have to run on the treadmill or lift heavy weights to reap the benefits. 

Moving your joints through their full range of motion improves flexibility and reduces stiffness, swelling, and pain.

Add these range of motion exercises to your daily routine.

photo of ra exercise seven body parts

Range of motion exercises are just one part of an RA-friendly fitness plan.

Other low-impact activities such as walking and swimming are also important to keep up bone strength, boost energy, improve sleep, and maintain a healthy weight.

Aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week to promote good health and wellness. For instance, you can split that up into five sessions of 30 minutes each.

If you’re not active now, start with a little bit of activity at a time and gradually add more time. If you’re not sure what type of activity is OK for you, ask your doctor. 

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on November 03, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Current Opinion in Rheumatology: “Benefits and promotion of physical activity in rheumatoid arthritis.”

Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center: “Role of Exercise in Arthritis Management.”

Spondylitis Association of America: “Exercise.”

ALS Worldwide: “Range of Motion Exercises.”

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons: “Hip Conditioning Program.”

Mayo Clinic: “Exercise Helps Ease Arthritis Pain and Stiffness.”

CDC.

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