9 Things I’ve Learned About Exercising With RA

RA Guy Adventures of RA Guy

1. Upon increased use, muscles that have been inflamed and/or infrequently used are usually going to hurt more before they hurt less.

2. It’s essential to be able to distinguish between pain that results from muscle soreness, and pain that results from incorrect or overloaded use of the joints.

3. When starting an exercise routine, it’s critical to implement new movements very, very gradually; a body that has been ravaged for years needs plenty of time to recover, heal, and strengthen.

4. Personal trainers with physical therapy training are worth their weight in gold; they can help a person with rheumatoid arthritis modify exercises accordingly and reduce the risk of injury.

5. In addition to the commonly acknowledged benefits of feeling better and looking more fit, muscle strengthening and weight loss also help arthritic joints move around with a little more ease.

6. When I’m flaring I still go to the gym, but I make sure to limit myself to extremely gentle stretches and exercises. (I find the atmosphere of the gym to be very therapeutic, especially when I’m at my worst.)

7. Consistency is key.

8. There comes a point where regular exercise actually helps reduce fatigue. It sounds strange, I know, but it’s true. (And multiple studies have affirmed as much.)

9. Our bodies are capable of amazing things.

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

RA, Feelings Of Shame, And Strength

RA Guy Adventures of RA Guy

Rheumatoid arthritis can often cause us to feel ashamed: ashamed of moving with difficulty, or of walking with a mobility device; ashamed of not being able to contribute equally around the house, both time wise and financially; ashamed of needing extra support to fight the demons of depression, and so on.

When such feelings arise, it’s important—and absolutely essential—to remind oneself that while many people have no idea of the challenges we face on a constant basis, there are indeed others who understand what you’re going through, and who know firsthand the absolute strength that is required to live and cope with this disease. Don’t ever forget, you are not alone.

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!