How to Run with Rheumatoid Arthritis


Patients who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis can greatly benefit from undertaking physical exercise. Constant movement of the joint keeps mobility levels up and helps decrease pain. Because rheumatoid arthritis often makes it difficult for patients to make any kind of movement, you might not find it impossible to even start running without some practice. Doing physical exercise proves beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis patients, but you should always consult with your doctor before starting any type of treatment or taking up running, as rheumatoid arthritis cases differ from one person to another.

1. You will need special shoes to start running. Go to a specialized store and get your running shoes fitted. Tell the shop attendant you need a rigid heel, good arch support and a deep toe box for your shoes. Even healthy people develop knee and muscle problems if they run in the wrong shoes, so practice extra care when it comes to selecting shoes.

2. Take your time to stretch and move your joints before starting to run. Make a routine out of doing a wide range of movements for at least 10 minutes. Avoid movements that prove too painful, and don’t push your body. You will get more mobility in time, as long as you practice consistently. Combine running with weight lifting. Get some light weights and lift them gently a few times a week. Building strength in your joints and muscles proves beneficial for treating arthritis, according to a study published in Harvard Health Publications (http://www.health.harvard.edu/).

3. Start by running on a treadmill. This proves less aggressive on the joints than running on the sidewalk or city streets. In the beginning you will feel tired after only a few minutes. Alternate running with walking by doing five minutes of running and five minutes of running. Gradually increase the running time and decrease the walking time. After you build some endurance, you can start running outside, whether in the park or on the sidewalk.

4. Always listen to your body. If it tells you to stop, don’t push yourself. If your joints hurt too much, relax and massage them softly. Even if some days you don’t feel like exercising, do it anyway—even if it’s just a short session with some light exercises. You need to keep your joints moving to constantly stimulate circulation.

5. Take your pain medication after exercising. Pain medication causes your body to relax, and you might not have the ability to read pain signals correctly. Don’t take your pain medication before exercising in order to avoid injury.

6. Relax after your running session and do another 10 minutes of light stretching. Make sure you sleep well: at least eight hours every night. Your body needs to recover and function well in order to fight the pain and inflammation in your joints. Also maintain a healthy diet and lose extra weight, if necessary. Obesity puts a lot of pressure on the joints, making them more fragile and painful.

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About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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