HIGH INTENSITY EXERCISE- IS IT GOOD FOR RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS?
For years, high intensity exercise such as high-level cycling, running and jogging was considered a contraindication for sufferers of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Recent studies, however, are refuting the notion. They find that it can be beneficial if prescribed by a qualified health professional.
A study in the Netherlands (published in CLINICAL RHEUMATOLOGY) found “… the exercising patients had similar levels of disease activity as the group which stopped exercising; meaning high-intensity exercise did NOT speed up the progression of RA in their joints.” The patients who continued exercising 2 times a week had greater strength gains, endurance, mobility and overall fitness.
If you are considering high-intensity exercise, it is important you are cleared by your doctor.
Then, work with your physical therapist to evaluate what joints are involved, and determine appropriate loads for the uninvolved joints. Ramping up the exercise program should progress slowly to assess your body and joints’ response to the increased load- it is best to work with a certified trainer or physical therapist to help you determine progression.
If you develop any of the following symptoms, stop your exercise program and consult your doctor:
-sharp pain in joints or chest
So even with rheumatoid arthritis, you can consider adding high-intensity exercise to your fitness routine for your health!
—Joann Tippett, PT, MSPT, CKTP, CCI