What are the Different Options for Rheumatoid Arthritis Exercise?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 17 January 2020
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For those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, exercise may be the last thing they feel like doing since this condition often results in joint pain. On the other hand, exercise can actually help reduce the discomfort due to this medical condition, though only certain types are recommended. While high impact workouts like jogging should usually be avoided, there are several low impact aerobic exercises that are advised, such as walking, swimming, or the use of an elliptical. Lifting heavy weights is usually not a good rheumatoid arthritis exercise, but resistance training using either low weights or none at all can be a good idea. Of course, stretching is one exercise that nearly anyone with rheumatoid arthritis can benefit from.

Though the most obvious form of aerobic activity, which is jogging or running, should be avoided, there are plenty of other recommended exercises. For example, walking can be perfect for those with joint pain, as it tends to be easy on the joints with the right walking shoes. Swimming and bicycling are two other popular forms of rheumatoid arthritis exercise, and both count as cardiovascular workouts so that heart health and weight loss are both possible. For those who prefer to work out in the gym using a machine, an elliptical can be a great choice since it is known for being easy on the joints.


Many people like to incorporate strength training into their routine, and it is possible even with rheumatoid arthritis. The best way to go about this is to start resistance training using the body as the weight during exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and tricep dips. It is also advised that those looking to strength train, lift light weights rather than heavy weights. The key to getting a good workout through this kind of rheumatoid arthritis exercise is to do a lot of repetitions with lower weights, as this will develop muscle tone without putting too much pressure on the joints. Of course, some arthritis conditions are more severe than others, and if any of these exercises result in pain, they should be discontinued at once.

Stretching is one type of rheumatoid arthritis exercise that both seasoned and beginner exercisers should do, especially before and after a workout. This is because it can improve flexibility, making it easier to move, which means that injuries and discomfort are less likely. Stretching can be done before and after a regular workout, but it can also be done on its own, everyday, even in the absence of a regular workout regimen. Movements should be smooth and controlled in order to avoid putting excess pressure on the joints while completing this form of rheumatoid arthritis exercise.



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