I have RA, and I have to say, I haven't found any doctors who can give a lot of advice on this subject. Doesn't mean you shouldn't ask - you should. But I don't know how helpful they will be.
Water aerobics seems to be recommended. Though, I tried an arthritis water aerobics class when I was in a flare. It hurt and was not the cardio I had hoped it would be.
I am pretty well controlled right now, so I can most of my normal workouts. Pushups and things that put a lot of pressure on my wrists I do only in moderation. But for about a year, I was unable to do much strength training. My hands were not capable of gripping weights and my wrists could not handle any pushing activities. Knees and ankles kept me away from leg strength work. During that time I did do a fair bit of yoga and pilates for strength. Spinning, zumba, elliptical, stepmill for cardio. Some of the plank work in yoga was tough on my wrists, so I would modify to elbow planks. When feet and knees starting acting up in cardio, I just listened to my body.
Now that I am able to train harder, I have regained most of my strength. Still working on some of the cardio/plyo endurance. I do fight the fatigue as well.
It is a lot harder to workout and plan workouts with RA. But you are right, I think in the long run it can make dealing with RA easier. It makes the muscles and connective tissue around the joints strong, keeps weight off (to avoid added joint pressure)and can give you more energy.
I say for now, just do what doesn't hurt. And never workout on a joint that is in a flare - painful, swollen, hot. Take care!!
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it." - George Bernard Shaw
"Strong reasons make strong actions." - William Shakespeare
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