Your joints are hot and swollen, and moving causes agonising pain. Exercising may even make you feel worse, and certainly will do if you over-extend those sore joints beyond a tolerable limit. Having said that, exercising IS ESSENTIAL to Rheumatoid Arthritis sufferers, and for me proved to be the turning point for achieving a healthy body. Basically, it saved my life. More on my own experiences in a subsequent blog.
Exercising is important for many reasons. First, from a physiological point of view, it helps rid the body of toxins. It is the function of the lymphatic system to rid the body of waste and maintain a healthy immune system. However, since there is no pump for lymph, as is the case of blood flow, it relies upon body movement. If there is none, it backs up like a clogged sewerage pipe. When this happens even the healthiest of us will feel lethargic. If you already have a pre-existing condition, you are likely to feel even worse.
So Exercise! It is a must!
Okay, so what are the other benefits? If we are bed-ridden due to some other illness, our muscles deteriorate. This happens surprisingly rapidly. Use it or lose it. It may be a cliché, but it is true, especially in the case of RA. If we don’t exercise, our muscles and ligaments waste and our bones thin. If a strong muscle can’t move a stiff knee, then how is a weak muscle expected to?
If you are worse in the morning, as are many RA sufferers, surely it makes sense to get those joints moving sooner. Get out of bed and move, move, move! It is worth the effort. Do you not feel so much better when everything has started working again? Of course you do, so make the effort!
Next time, I shall write about my own exercising experiences and how I progressed from being unable to walk more than ten metres without agonising pain, to running around a tennis court.
It did happen! It can for you too!