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Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Staying Active: Use It or Lose It

Posted on April 09 2014

For those living with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), staying active can be a challenge, although remaining active is key to keeping the muscles around the joints strong and healthy. Have you ever heard the saying “Use it or lose it”? While this phrase can apply to many different aspects of life, doctors say that staying active is essential to maintaining range-of-motion, even more so for those with RA. Like Stephen Soloway, M.D., a rheumatologist at Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates in Vineland, N.J says, keeping the joints active significantly reduces the likelihood that they will stiffen and cause pain.   Improving strength, flexibility, and endurance helps improve quality of life, especially for those with Rheumatoid Arthritis. If participating in your favorite pick-up game with the guys (or girls) has become too much for your stiff, achy joints, experts recommend trying a lower-impact sport, such as:   *swimming *water aerobics *walking *biking *yoga   Experts suggest that those with RA talk and work closely with their healthcare provider to discuss realistic goals based on the status of their condition (and joints) and then develop a plan that will help them work towards achieving those goals. Your doctor may even recommend using a certain type of footwear or orthotics, as well as using braces, sleeves, or tape to provide the joints with a little extra support.   Don’t forget to stretch before you start to exercise, get those muscles and joints warmed up and ready to go. Your doctor might even recommend using gel inserts or hot packs (some can even be slipped into your brace or shoes) to help warm the muscles, making it easier and more comfortable to move around.   Do what works best for you and don’t worry about what others are doing. Start slow and ease into a new routine that includes more movement each day. Start by walking to the mailbox and back if you have to, or try using a parking spot further away from the entrance. For those with RA, the amount of exercise isn’t as important as the fact that you’re keeping your joints movement. Everyone is different, so do what works best for you and your joints, as long as they keep moving.   Mountainside Medical Equipment carries a wide range of products that are specially designed to benefit those with arthritis. Browse through the selection of pain relievers, arthritis pain relief socks and gloves, Joint Stim Therapy Systems, vitamins and supplements, braces, supports, and much more.   Sources: http://www.arthritistoday.org/what-you-can-do/staying-active/activity-types/workouts-for-arthritis.php http://inhealth.cnn.com/taking-control-of-ra/8-ways-to-live-well-with-rheumatoid-arthritis?did=t1_rss1 http://www.lifescript.com/health/centers/rheumatoid_arthritis/tips/8_steps_to_staying_active_with_rheumatoid_arthritis.aspx

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