Tell Us!

We want to hear what types of exercises work for you! Please share your positive exercise experiences with us. It just might be the encouragement someone else needs to give it a try!

I have been diagnosed with RA 5 years ago at age 40 later found out that OA has set in as well. I have been in many medications and battled with depression just as much. Before I know it I gained 20 or more pounds! This was what woke me up…. I have always been lean weighing 116 to 120 lbs with 15 to 20 % body fat. Now I am 22 pounds heavier with 35% body fat. I am like the most miserable person you can find knowing I was so. One day I decided to go back to the gym and stop taking prednisone which made me bloat in the first place. Before RA – I lived and breath exercise but now I found myself struggling to exercise. But I have been persistent about it I had to have a mind set that exercise will do me all the good if not the best that I have ever been. I study all the exercises before I indulge myself with it and true enough Yoga was a big help to me. The breathing and meditation combined with the stretches is surely a pain relieving therapy for me. Of course, not without a struggle so I learned to variate the movements that would be friendly to RA inflicted body. I don’t do positions that will aggravate majorly inflicted joints instead I modify the position that will be just as an effective stretch and energy giver. I guess that is the key point of all the exercises I do- I chant “heal body heal!”

I am now starting to learn “Tai-chi” which is another form of breathing, meditation and exercise movements.

I have given up taking Prednisone and other DMARDS as my liver has been affected by it. I now am determined to get to where I want to be through exercise.

Believe it or not, I am even doing cardio exercise such as Step class as I used to be an advance stepper. I love this exercise, the music and choreography takes me away. But again, I have to modify it to a low impact movements and using the most minimal step level and some days I use none at all.

I have never felt alive and fit. Of course, there will always be days when it seems just as bad or worst and that is the time when I go into a quite room with very soft music and do some yoga. It does not give you an instant relief like Soma, vicodin or Darvo can give instead it gives you a mystical calmness that eleviates the pain in some way that only your mind can understand why and how.- Tina Schaare

This has been a year and a half journey so far with RA and I have finally gotten somewhat stabilized with medication. Over the last 2 years I had put on 40 pounds while I sat on the couch and tried to deal with the pain but now things are looking up. One month ago I started an exercise group named Pilates that has greatly improved my life. It has helped control the pain, I’ve lost 10 pounds and I feel better than I have in 2 years.

It is a system of resistance and movement that improves strength and flexibility but does not require any bouncing or lifting that conventional exercising does. I was skeptical when I first started that it would be just another waste of time and I would not be able to do anything or be able to handle the pain. However, it has been the answer to getting me active again and back into life. Even my husband has noticed a big difference in how I move and especially a new attitude. The only negative is the fact that it is not cheap but there maybe some other alternatives. I am also paying for a personal coach at this time and it costs $125 month. I hope that all of you can find a way to get some exercise because it is true that it helps a lot. -Beverly

Was diagnosed with Psoriatic/Rheumatoid/Osteo about three years ago, taken a long time to get feeling well but medication has helped (hate having to rely on pills to get through a day – but anything is better than Nothing!!). Just recently I’ve tried bicycling, – we live in a very flat area and so I try to get out every night just for a while. Some nights I don’t make it very far but other nights I do the entire distance I had set in my mind and then am I proud!! I guess its just that old “I refuse to let this thing win” attitude, but its the only one that gets me through some days!! Now am determined to start swimming this fall – at least I’ll give it a try and hope for the best! Well – it can’t hurt anymore than it already does – can it!!!???!! -?

With new medications my pain became manageable without constant RX pain “killers” and I was able to take up scuba diving after many years away from this exciting sport. The weightless exercise of underwater swimming is good for me, but the mental benefits have been the big bonus. No studies on the benefits of being under pressure on the joints have been done (or my doctor and I just don’t know about them) but I actually have great relief from swelling for several days afterwards, and therefore the pain too. It has been very liberating to “take back” my life from this monster of a disease and that mental attitude hasn’t hurt my outlook on the rest of daily living either. I encourage everyone to find not just an exercise but a liberating activity. Scuba diving gives me exercise, social activity, mental stimulus and something to get out of my chair for. -Lynda Patterson

At the ripe young age of 51, I am learning how to swim. I thought swimming would give me chance to exercise without stressing my already painful feet. Not only am I doing that, it’s also been a big confidence builder to overcome my life long fear of water. At first, the morning after would find me a little stiffer but I figure pain you earn you can live with. Now that I am more relaxed in the water I seem to feel less like a “sprained body” the next day. I’m also trying aqua fitness. That really did hurt at first because I was using muscles that had been sleeping for years. I have learned to adapt some of the exercises, (ie. these feet don’t jump!) but it’s wonderful, I actually feel more energetic afterwards. -Krick

Hey guys! I just wanted to write and tell you all something I discovered. I am 25 and have had RA for 5 years. It has gotten progressively worse. My morning stiffness was almost unbearable some days. My doctor has changed my medicines trying to find one that would work. I was on Methotrexate etc. The he put me on Arava and Daypro. The medicines helped, but I was still stiff. Then about 3 months ago I began working out every day in the gym. I began doing the elliptical trainer for 35 minutes a day. I was very sore when I started the routine. One of my knees was killing me, and I could hardly bend it. After I began the routine I started waking up without soreness or stiffness. I then began lifting weights as well. I have been at it for a few months, and I feel like I have been given a new life. I wake up each morning without stiffness. It is the most wonderful thing. I am getting ready to graduate from law school, which is very stressful. Yet even with all of that I am stiffness free. I am not a doctor, and am not advocating any of this. I just wanted to let you know how much it helped me. Perhaps more emphasis should be put on exercise for those of us with RA. Good luck to you all.-Sincerely, Katherine