Benefits of Movement for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Physical activity and general movement is highly recommended for those living with Rheumatoid Arthritis. While it may seem like the last thing you feel like doing when experiencing pain, research has shown physical activity can alleviate symptoms and improve daily functionality.
Increased Blood Flow
Improving blood flow leads to better circulation which subsequently leads to less swelling and less stiffness — exactly the symptoms you’re trying to relieve. If you’re attempting to exercise during a painful flare, listen to your body and pain level above all else. If 30 minutes of consistent exercise is pushing your joints too far, try breaking those into two 15 minute or three 10 minute intervals throughout the day.
Maintaining a regular exercise routine improves not only your physical health, but your mental health as well. With less sunlight and cooler temps, it’s easy to let your routine fall to the wayside during the winter. Focus on doing something small even if its just for a few minutes each day. Some people additionally find inspiration in an accountability partner — encourage and challenge each other in your movement goals no matter how many miles are between you.
Winter Activities for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Walking is a great form of exercise that gets all of your joints moving that you can do anywhere — outdoors or indoors. Whether you choose to schedule your walks within the comfort of your own home or bundle up and enjoy the winter air, there’s no doubt that walking is one of the exercises that most people enjoy doing.
Yoga is known for its many benefits – from mental clarity to increased flexibility and everything in between. It’s no surprise this ancient practice is consistently recommended for nearly everyone as a beneficial form of mental and physical exercise. Whether you choose to practice yoga at a studio or at home with an online video or DVD, the benefits are sure to alleviate pain, increase your strength and flexibility, and improve your overall mental well-being.
You may tend to think of swimming as a summertime activity, but if you have access to an indoor pool, swimming could become your favorite wintertime activity. Swimming is one of the best aerobic activities for people living with rheumatoid arthritis because it is non-weight-bearing. Try your hand at swimming laps or a water aerobics class and see what your body prefers.
No matter how you choose to get moving in during the winter months, always put your health first. Take extra precautions against the lower temps by dressing warmly in layers and use heat packs when outdoors or to help soothe aching joints.