Sep 22, 2017 / Other Conditions

Exercise Tips for Rheumatology Patients

Rheumatology patients have a condition that affects their joints which can make them hurt and swollen. What can you do to make it better?

Exercise should be part of your daily routine. Inactivity, or not doing anything, may make your symptoms worse and increase muscle weakness brought on by the disease you have.

Inactivity may cause...
  • your muscles to be weaker.
  • your joints to stiffen.
  • loss of motion in your joints that can be difficult to regain.

Three types of exercises help maintain or improve health and fitness and reduce arthritis related disability and pain.
  • Range of motion exercises are gentle, active exercises done daily to maintain or improve function and reduce injuries.
  • Strengthening exercises are usually done every other day and work the muscle a bit harder than usual. Examples include using weights, elastic bands or weight machines for more resistance.
  • Aerobic exercises include activities that use the large muscles of the body to improve heart, lung and muscle function, such as a cycling program.

During an arthritis “flare”, you should do gentle, active range of motion exercises. Do these exercises first thing in the morning to decrease morning stiffness. A stretching and strengthening program may be started after the swelling and pain are reduced. Doing the right kind of exercise every day will help keep your joints limber and your muscles strong. Be careful to do only the specific exercises your therapist has recommended. We encourage normal daily play such as bicycle riding, swimming, non-competitive games and walking (not jogging).

Benefits of exercise include:
  • Maintain joint range of motion
  • Prevent obesity
  • Preserve ability for self-care and independence
  • Improve mood
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Prevent osteoporosis
  • Prevent muscle weakness

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