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Woman with rheumatoid arthritis doing physical therapy hand exercise

When you’re living with rheumatoid arthritis, it’s critically important to incorporate an exercise routine into your everyday life. This should be one of the necessary components of your treatment regimen. It can seem challenging and even overwhelming to think about exercising when you’re dealing with chronic pain from your medical condition, but physical activity is important because it increases your flexibility, joint function and muscle strength.

Of course, before you add any exercise routine to your lifestyle, be sure to talk with your doctor beforehand. You want to ensure that the type of activity you choose is safe and benefits your health as a whole. Here are six great exercises you might want to try if you have rheumatoid arthritis.


Walking is the most basic exercise anyone can perform, but it is also excellent because it works out your entire body. It’s great for both your body and mind and helps to improve your cardiovascular system. It helps to improve your mobility and increases the motion of your joints, which is essential when you have rheumatoid arthritis. Also, walking is a low impact physical activity that won’t put any excessive stress or strain on your joints or muscles. Walking for just an hour each day can greatly improve joint stiffness and get your blood flowing.


Another effective low-impact exercise for people with rheumatoid arthritis is bicycling. It can be done on an actual bike or stationary bike right in the privacy of your home or at the gym. Because it’s a low-impact activity, it is easy on the joints and can actually improve your muscles by increasing strength and decreasing stiffness. After you have incorporated this activity into your routine, you will notice better mobility in your joints.


Swimming is another good option for people with rheumatoid arthritis who are looking for an exercise routine. It too is low-impact and works to improve your overall joint function by increasing mobility. Swimming can also ease stiffness and boost your mood. An alternative to this exercise is water aerobics.

Movement Exercises

Yoga and Tai Chi are excellent movement exercises that are ideal for anyone struggling with rheumatoid arthritis. They are low-impact and work out the entire body, improve flexibility and range of motion and increase muscle strength. Over time, when you do these types of exercises, you will find a considerable decrease in joint stiffness and pain.

Another great benefit of these exercises is that they can reduce your stress and combat depression. Yoga and Tai Chi concentrate on meditation, deep breathing and zen in addition to the actual exercises.

Strength-Building Exercises

Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis can also greatly benefit from working out with free weights, weight machines, and resistance bands. These items increase your strength by working out the muscles, which can improve your range of motion and reduce joint stiffness. When you perform strength-building exercises regularly, you may find that you can do activities you once found difficult because your strength is improved.

Stretching Routine

A stretching routine is also a good idea if you have rheumatoid arthritis. It should be done daily because it improves your range of motion and overall flexibility. When you wake up in the morning, you probably experience muscle stiffness. Some simple stretching exercises can help. Perform these exercises with your entire body, including your neck and shoulders, legs, arms, hands and fingers.

It’s always important to remember that, before doing any of these exercises, you should consult with your doctor to ensure that they are safe and he or she approves. Additionally, you must always warm up before you perform any type of exercise and cool down after your routine as well. It will ensure that you are ready for your routine and don’t suffer an injury.

As we mentioned, it’s essential to work with a medical professional when managing rheumatoid arthritis. At Back Pain Centers of America (BPC), we take a personalized approach to your care to ensure that you’re getting the quality medical attention you deserve. Our board-certified specialists are well-versed in treating RA and can help you manage your condition and thrive. Call us today at 1-844-201-1308.

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