Video Q & A:

Exercise

Question:

What are the best exercises for someone with RA?

Expert:   Harry D. Fischer, MD, Chief of Rheumatology, Beth Israel Medical Center New York »

Whether you enjoy yoga or speed-walking, physical activity is known to alleviate your joint pain. Find out how.

Transcript: If you’re prone to joint pain, you DON’T have to become couch-bound. In fact, regular activity can help COUNTER joint stiffness and arthritis pain. Exercise also helps keep your muscles and bones strong, yet another way to fend off achy joints. Low-impact activities such as biking or swimming are great. Low-impact means it puts little additional stress on your joints. This is the opposite of high-impact exercise like running or tennis—which should be AVOIDED. Other activities that can help your joints focus on improving your range of motion. These include things such as gentle stretching, Tai Chi or yoga. There are a number of different types of yoga, some more intense than others. Start with gentler Hatha or Yin yoga. Another type of beneficial exercise is strength training. The goal here is not to see how much weight you can bench press, but to keep your whole body toned and resistant to injury. Start by lifting light weights every other day, alternating between your upper and lower body muscles. Take a day or two off if you notice any swelling in your joints. A well-rounded plan includes a mix of all types of activities. With any form of exercise it is important to start slowly and see how your body responds. Pushing through an activity that is NOT right for you can cause more injury. Also, if your joint pain is caused by a temporary injury, consult your doctor BEFORE starting any new exercise plan. For more ways to keep your joints healthy check out the rest of the videos in this series. More »

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