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07 Aug 2007

RA and exercising
Hello Doc

I have had RA for about 10 years. Before I was diagnosed I used to keep fairly feet, exercised about 2-3 times a week. I have sinced started exercising 5-6 times a week, jogging and I also enter half marathons. The RA has gotten worse and sometimes I cant exersice for weeks because of the pain in my joints (esp knees). Can you help, I stopped taking medication because it was not effective, I have never been in remission since I was diagnosed.

Thanks
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Expert
FitnessDoc
fitnessdoc

01 Jan 0001

Hi Mpume

Don't give up just yet! Exercise is actually a good thing for people with RA, though it can be tricky to implement, and if not done just right, it can certainly worsen the symptoms.

First things first though, the medication angle is important - you may wish to check with your doctor about replacement meds, since there are probably options you have not looked at yet (I'm guessing because I don't know the exact history, but it sounds like you may have options). The one thing for example that you might try is glucosamine sulphate, which might help, if you haven't already? There's some evidence for this one...

Now, with regards to exercise, as I said, stopping exercise may worsen arthritic problems, making you feel weaker, less flexible and more prone to pain than necessary. Obviously, we can't have this situation where it's making you worse to exercise, so we have to figure out what to do about the exercise to optimize it.

I think, based on the comments above, you may have overdone the exercise to begin with. Most people would find 5 to 6 days a week tough as a starting point, and with RA, it might be a bridge too far. The key with RA is to focus on gradually getting stronger, focus on flexibility and work at building up and allowing your body to adapt. There are also certain types of exercise that are more effective than others. But instead of me tring to paraphase this and make it more confusing, perhaps the best is to check out the follwoing site for some tips:

http://www.arava.com/patient/about_rheumatoid_arthritis/exercise_program/ra_exercise_tips.do

Good luck, hang in there and don't give up. And see that doctor!!!
Ross
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