Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Kicking rheumatoid arthritis

Published:Monday | September 4, 2017 | 9:00 AM
Cycling strengthens the knee and could be enjoyed in a class where you have others to help motivate you.
Make use of the elliptical machine and go at a pace that works for you.
Psychotherapist Desmond Thompson ensures that McPherson is careful and executing the workout at the right level and pace to strengthen and not damage her joints.
Hip extensions strengthen your glutes and lower back and is easier on your joints.
Walking is a low-impact aerobic exercise that is easier on your joints.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is seen as a monster in most people's closets, sending them on a terrifying rage, suffering from joint pain and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes joint pain, stiffness, swelling and decreased movement of the joints. In some people, the condition can damage a number of body systems, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels.

According to certified personal trainer Carol McPherson, getting lots of exercise is an important part of coping with rheumatoid arthritis.

"My job is physically demanding and RA has hindered me from doing certain aerobics routines and exercises." she told Flair. "I would have flare-ups experiencing pain, stiffness and swelling in my knee from walking or standing for long periods. After my diagnosis, I did intense research on RA and found that exercise can help to improve your health and fitness without hurting your joints," McPherson explained.

With the correct treatment programme, McPherson and psychotherapist Desmond Thompson stress that exercise can strengthen the muscles around the joints, helping to maintain bone strength and enhance the quality of life for those suffering from the disease.

Before engaging in any form of exercise, it is important to stretch to prepare your muscles and joints for the exercise routine. You should also stretch after your exercises to prevent stiffness. It is OK to rest a day between your workouts, and take an extra day or two if your joints are painful or swollen.

With the help of McPherson and Thompson, today Flair shares a few exercises that persons suffering from RA can indulge in and feel much better for it.

There are three sets of exercises you can kick off RA with: range of motion exercises such as cycling, elliptical workout, strengthening exercises like leg presses, hip extensions, and aerobics exercises such as walking, cycling and making use of the treadmill.

These exercises relieve stiffness and increase your ability to move your joints through their full range of motion. Aerobics exercises help with your overall fitness, and strengthening exercises help to build strong muscles that support and protect your joints.

kimberly.goodall@gleanerjm.com