Excercise and Improve your Health

Exercise is a necessary staple in everyone’s life.  It helps you stay in shape, and therefore healthy.  Exercise is even more beneficial in those who have chronic pain issue, such as rheumatoid arthritis.  Exercise can actually reduce pain, improve functionality and prevent weakness and stiffness in these patients.  The exercise called for is not strenuous at all. In fact, simple stretching can do wonders! This

Exercise for rheumatoid arthritis

Exercise can reduce pain and improve function in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In addition, exercise may help prevent the buildup of scar tissue, which can lead to weakness and stiffness.1 Exercise for arthritis takes three forms: stretching, strengthening, and conditioning.

Stretching involves moving joint and muscle groups through and slightly beyond their normal range of motion and holding them in position for at least 15 to 30 seconds. See pictures of various stretches .

Strengthening involves moving muscles against some resistance. Studies have shown that moderate- or high-intensity strength training is well-tolerated in people with rheumatoid arthritis and can help increase or maintain muscle strength.1 In addition, another study reports that a program of long-term, high-intensity weight-bearing exercises improves the functional ability, physical capacity, and emotional status of people with rheumatoid arthritis.2 There are two types of strengthening exercises.

  • Isometric strengthening is simply tightening a muscle or holding it against the resistance of gravity or an immovable object without moving the joint. For example:
    • Tighten the front thigh muscle of the leg.
    • Push the wrist up against the undersurface of a table.
  • Isotonic strengthening means moving a joint through its range of motion against the resistance of a weight or gravity. For example:
    • Put a 3 lb (1.4 kg) weight on your ankle and then bend and straighten your knee.
    • Lift free weights.

See pictures of basic muscle-strengthening exercises and muscle-strengthening with free weights .

To view the rest of this article, please visit:  http://www.health.com/health/library/mdp/0,,uh1283,00.html

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