I use a machine at the gym that is like doing a stepper but you're sitting down. Does that make sense? It helps my knees so that I don't injure them on the treadmill or elliptical. When I'm having a flare (which is more often than not) I do a lower resistence and go slower. I also take a gentle aerobics class that focuses on using your body as resistence and doing range of motion activities.
I started with body exercises like wall pushups, squats, leg lifts, seated leg lifts etc. I now use the new Coach Nicole's dvd to add in more of a challenge using 3 lb weights. If I'm in a flare I will usually go back to body weight exercises or take a day or two off depending on how I'm feeling.
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I just bought a pair of bands and haven't yet used them enough to speak about them. I hav been using small dumbbells for about a year and getting good results. I just looked thru Spark's exercise generator and marked down any I thought I could do. I started with 2lb. weights with a fabric band for holding while walking, moved up to 3 lb. several weeks later and now use 5 lb. weights at home, going back down to 3 or 2 if my joints are hurting. I usually do these while sitting. I also do balance exercises as I can, mostly standing. I need to improve leg strength and balance. I do hip flexor, standing adduction and abduction, and calf raises, and seated leg extensions. I don't do them as often as the dumbbells, mostly because of leg pain after cardio. I think consulting a physical therapist familiar with RA is a great idea. Checking the Arthritis Foundation website also helped me.
"Mountains DO move...One stone at a time." ~Rick Beneteau Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. - John Wooden, Hall of Fame college basketball coach With exercise, doing some is always better than doing none. - Spark article MAKE THE BEST FOOD CHOICES YOU CAN TODAY - and then, try it again tomorrow!- Dr. John La Puma, M.D.
I asked my physical therapist for some ideas and then went to a personal trainer who had done research into RA to be able to help me. A warning from both of them is hyperextension especially when in a flare the swelling can cause our joints to move past where they are supposed to and can cause us injury. The best thing we found was band exercises instead of holding weights.
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