Realistic Activity Goals Seem To Ease Arthritis Pain, Study Finds

RA Guy Community News 4 Comments

Belief in ability to do exercise, and following through, can improve life for rheumatoid arthritis patients

THURSDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) — Rheumatoid arthritis patients who believe in their ability to achieve physical activity goals — called self-efficacy — are more likely to reach those objectives, researchers have found.

The investigators also found that patients who achieve their physical activity goals have lower levels of arthritis pain and a higher quality of life.

Researchers in the Netherlands conducted an initial assessment of the physical activity levels, motivation, self-efficacy for physical activity, levels of arthritis pain and quality of life of 106 rheumatoid arthritis patients.

When the assessment was repeated six months later, 75 percent of the patients rated their physical activity goal achievement at 50 percent or more. Those with higher levels of self-efficacy for physical activity were more likely to achieve their physical activity goals, the study authors noted.

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Over the past couple of months, I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion how much I think exercise (swimming and aquatic exercise) have helped me to not only improve my overall physical strength and flexibility, but have also helped me to lower my pain levels. Figuring out how to exercise regularly when living with a condition such as rheumatoid arthritis definitely isn’t easy, but it is possible. (And part of making it possible is knowing and accepting when exercise just isn’t possible, no matter how much I wish it to be.)

I appreciate how this article focuses on realistic activity goals. For me, figuring out what is indeed realistic has been a key part of my success when it comes to being able to exercise.

Comments 4

  1. Deb aka murphthesurf

    I am all for exercising just so long as I am not in one of the horrible flare days. I do walk on a regular basis but so agree with you on the pool. For me the pool is not in the equation right now…so a walking I do go. My motto is “If I don’t use it, I will loose it.” I try not to beat myself up if I can’t walk for one day or even two but I do try to get back on track as quickly as possible. My next challenge has been to try and figure out how to add strength training with damaged joints. Anyone out there with a great DVD to recommend…post away 🙂 I have alot of wrist damage currently but was thinking I might be able to modify how I use the resistant band.

  2. Thrive With RA™

    Interesting article. Thanks for posting it RA Guy. Notice how they mention “self-efficacy” three times in the article. The mind is a powerful thing. That’s the message I got from this — a person’s own power to produce an effect. The power of positive thinking that you CAN exercise WITHOUT harm is half the battle. Then, the power to believe you CAN achieve the desired results is another rung of the ladder one needs to “climb” to move forward. Taking it a little at a time and ending on a good note has been my own goal.

    Like Deb, I too have been walking. I’m increasing the distance a bit more each time, and have been walking on a pretty steep grade that achieves a high level of cardio even for someone at a much higher level of fitness — so far, so good! I remind myself to take it slowly. It’s empowering to achieve fitness goals if I just — like you stated — keep them realistic.

  3. Terry

    I have been working out, well … working out for someone with RA anyway, for 4 years now. I walk a minimum of 20 minutes everyday and hit weights 3 days a week. Nowhere near what I used to do as a healthy person but it does help. On days I am hurting worse than normal I skip and don’t feel guilty about missing a workout like I did when I was healthy.
    On top of the physical benefit you gain a mental edge on RA as well.

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