This information is general exercise information for people with RA and may not suit all individuals. Your healthcare professional is the best person to advise you on what activities are suitable for you depending on the severity of your condition and your treatment plan.



What benefits does exercise bring?


Staying active with regular exercise may help improve your rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms.1,2

Regular physical activity can help you: 1-3

  • Reduce pain, stiffness and inflammation
  • Strengthen your muscles
  • Maintain joint function
  • Improve mobility
  • Combat fatigue
  • Alleviate low mood
  • Lose weight
  • Keep your heart in good shape
  • Make sure your bones stay strong
  • Improve your sleep and your overall health

What exercises should I be doing?


Finding an exercise that you enjoy doing might help you keep it up regularly and build it into your everyday routine. Exercising with RA may be difficult, so stretching exercises and low-intensity exercises will probably be the best fit for you. Before you start any type of exercise, talk to your doctor. Alternatively, you could speak to an exercise physiologist for exercise recommendations or to put together an exercise plan.

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The AbbVie Care Health Coach team can provide information on how to help lead a healthier lifestyle with some easy-to-follow, realistic steps combined with your RINVOQ treatment.

The Health Coaching service offered through AbbVie Care is general in nature and is in addition to the support and advice available from your healthcare team. You should always speak to your doctor for tailored advice for your condition or if you have any questions about your health and treatment.

Book a call with one of the team

Stretching exercises

Stretching exercises may help you strengthen muscles, improve posture and maintain flexibility,1 and the great news is that stretching has proven benefits for people with RA.4 If you experience morning stiffness, gentle stretches under a warm shower may help.1 A stretching program should be done consistently, targeting different parts of the body and different movements so that the whole body is stretched and moved daily.2,4 Below are a few stretching examples.

Low intensity exercises

Low-intensity exercises are a good start for people with RA as they do not stress the joints and are less likely to cause any pain. You should always warm up before exercising.10

Warming up is important to improve circulation and increase body temperature so the joints and muscles are less stiff, making exercise easier and reducing risk of injury. Examples of warm–up activities include walking at half speed, or performing flexibility exercises for 10–15 minutes.11

Examples of low-intensity exercises are:1,2,10

It is also important that people with RA cool down after exercising. Cooling down returns your heart rate close to normal, which can prevent your blood pressure from dropping too suddenly and making you feel sick or dizzy. Examples of cool-down activities include gradually slowing down your walking, lifting light weights, or doing stretching exercises. Stretching may have the added benefit of reducing muscle soreness after exercise.11

AbbVie Care Health Coaches

operator

The AbbVie Care Health Coach team can provide information on how to help lead a healthier lifestyle with some easy-to-follow, realistic steps combined with your RINVOQ treatment.

The Health Coaching service offered through AbbVie Care is general in nature and is in addition to the support and advice available from your healthcare team. You should always speak to your doctor for tailored advice for your condition or if you have any questions about your health and treatment.

Book a call with one of the team

What if it hurts when I exercise?

The level and type of exercise that can be done varies from person to person. Some people may be able to do a variety of exercises, whereas others may only be able to do very low intensity exercises or some basic stretches.1

You may experience pain in your joints and muscles when first exercising. Exercise is an important part of managing RA, and it can be useful to speak with an exercise physiologist to work out the type and amount of exercise that is right for you and your condition. If the pain feels unusual or severe, or lasts for more than two hours after you have stopped an activity, you should speak to your doctor.1

Speak with your doctor about how heat and cold packs may help. They have been known to minimise any swelling or pain after exercising. Cold packs can help numb the feelings of pain, and heat packs can help relax your muscles and joints.12 Try to plan your exercise for times when you are experiencing the least pain — generally when you are least tired and your treatment is having the maximum effect.1

Exercising when you have flares can be tough, and can make even the most gentle exercises seem difficult. If you are having issues with this, speak to your doctor. You can also seek the advice of an exercise physiologist to find out what they would recommend for when you experience a flare.

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