Best and Worst Exercise Trends for Rheumatoid Arthritis


When your joints are stiff and you hurt all over from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), hitting the gym is probably at the bottom of your to-do list.

But then you hear about a cool new exercise class and consider trying it. New exercise trends may seem adventurous and different, offering a refreshing spin on your typical idea of a workout.

But if you have RA, it’s important to pause for a moment first and think through how a new type of exercise may affect you. “While trying a variety of different options is beneficial, it can be problematic if you change the frequency, duration, and intensity of exercise all at the same time,” says Ryerson Stinson, an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist at the Johns Hopkins Rehabilitation Network in Columbia, Maryland, who frequently works with people who have RA.

A little research before taking part in a trendy new workout almost always pays off down the road. If a class is known to be very strenuous, you might start with a beginner-level option instead. To make that determination, Stinson suggests that you “give an honest assessment of where you are in that moment.”


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