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Exercise to lose weight with Rheumatoid arthritis

siki7627siki7627 Member Posts: 1 Member Member Posts: 1 Member
Are there any exercises I can do to lose weight if I have Rheumatoid arthritis. So can’t do anything intense yet because I’m just trying to get back into shape and eat better to lose weight


  • kimny72kimny72 Member Posts: 15,096 Member Member Posts: 15,096 Member
    You'll get much more bang for your buck for weight loss by focusing on your eating. A calorie deficit is the only requirement, so focus on that for weight loss.

    Exercise is for fitness and health. Walking is a great place to start! I don't know enough about the limitations the RA might put on you as far as other exercises.
    edited April 26
  • corinasue1143corinasue1143 Member Posts: 3,610 Member Member Posts: 3,610 Member
    I have ra. I swim, walk, ride a stationary bike(being careful to adjust it so there is no stress on my knees), and do yoga with modifications. I wore a pedometer, wrote down my total steps for 10 days in a row, averaged my steps for those 10 days. I aimed to get at least that average number of steps for a couple of weeks before I added a little more exercise. Adding slowly helped.
    Good luck!
  • Speckle38Speckle38 Member Posts: 53 Member Member Posts: 53 Member
    My brother has a similar arthritic condition. He walks daily with his dog - they do loooong walks. And he swims, although not as much as he used to. My colleague who has RA walks a lot, and she dances. She dances at a competitive/performance level, so it’s not something she just picked up overnight.
  • ChieflrgChieflrg Member Posts: 8,325 Member Member Posts: 8,325 Member
    Weight loss is strictly by eating in a caloric deficit.

    I do highly suggest to exercise though.

    RA along with other autoimmune disease and chronic pain can be tricky but very doable.

    I strongly suggest resistance training. Evidence shows that resistance training is extremely helpful and obviously has all the other benefits when it comes to this disease. Reducing pain us one of the primary benefits for those who have RA.

    I'm not a doctor but I've dealt with RA for many years as well as trained several people in the same situation.

    Here are some things I suggest you take into account with any activity you perform while dx'd with RA.

    1. Start very mild on exercise selection and length of sessions. We want to dose the useful stress while lowering non useful stress. This can be tricky as we feel we can do more, but that will come with a very watchful eye over time.
    2. While I usually advice to stick with a program or routine for most people, RA needs more flexibility until you more fully understand how your body is responding with the disease in mind. Don't force yourself to a movement or range of motion. The long term goal is to overload consistently. This might be at a slower pace or more frequency but less time.
    3. Take what your body gives you. Lets say you plan on walking 1 mile a day as a goal. We might have to do two half miles, one in the morning and one in the evening.
    4. Rid yourself of as many life stressors as possible. This stress keeps the immune system more active in rather intense way that many may experience longer or more intense flare ups. Find activities that calm and relax you.

    Let me know if I can help.

    Good luck.
  • djaxon1djaxon1 Member Posts: 32 Member Member Posts: 32 Member
    As said above, Walking . Very under-rated.
    Any hills or incline makes it more challenging , less walking required !
    I read that carrying upto 10% of bodyweight is well tolerated by most , to up the intensity a bit.
    The exercise makes you fit.
  • MikePfirrmanMikePfirrman Member Posts: 1,467 Member Member Posts: 1,467 Member
    My wife has RA in her toes bad. She can't walk that are any longer -- maybe 4 miles tops. But she does biking, stationary bike, Tai Chi, Pilates, even some yoga. And she loves to swim outside. Movement and diet help. We keep sugar/simple carbs to a minimum. Not complex carbs -- that's a good portion of our diet. We just eat mostly all whole grains.
  • Speckle38Speckle38 Member Posts: 53 Member Member Posts: 53 Member
    Speaking of diet, my brother was a vegetarian for many years simply because he doesn’t enjoy meat, but his arthritis has improved since he started eating some meat.
  • TX375TX375 Member, Premium Posts: 2 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2 Member
    siki7627 wrote: »
    Are there any exercises I can do to lose weight if I have Rheumatoid arthritis. So can’t do anything intense yet because I’m just trying to get back into shape and eat better to lose weight

    I have RA and Lupus (or at least that's the current, working diagnosis of my 3rd rheumatologist) and I've had to significantly modify what I can do in the gym. The advice above is good. Just a couple of thoughts I'd add... pay a lot of attention to recovery. If you're not feeling 100%, take a rest day. AND, if you have what feels like residual muscle soreness, do not work that same body part until the pain is gone. RA and inflammatory autoimmune conditions increase tendonopathy risk and if they are inflamed they are more prone to rupture. I tore my bicep tendon a while back and had it reattached. Not something I'd like to revisit. I've been working out for 35 years and I can't say with confidence that I can always differentiate between delayed muscle soreness from training and tendon pain. Tendon pain is a little more obvious in proportion to intensity, as when it is more intense and localized where it attaches to the muscle. But minor pain is less clear... to me anyway.

    My first two docs said no weight training at all. That's not why I found another one, but I was happy that my current rheum allows me to lift. We agreed no big barbell or heavy dumbbell lifts (my grip sucks), and while she'd prefer I don't lift more than 10% of my body weight, I use my judgement and work with weights I could comfortably do for double the number of reps I actually complete. And I walk. A lot. Or at least more than I used to, so I shoot for around 12,000 steps a day. Body weight work and exercise bands are really my go to these days.

    As for food, there's no magic bullet. I've been told to eliminate: gluten, dairy, alcohol, nightshades (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers... blasphemy to my Italian roots), coffee, and probably a few others. I've been told to drink celery juice every day and all of my autoimmunity will disappear. Etc... What I did was switch to a mostly Mediterranean/Ikarian diet with a lot of vegetables, lean meat a couple of times a week, fish a couple of times a week, almost zero added sugar (only when I don't know it's there for the most part), and healthy fats. I cut alcohol back significantly, as that is the only thing I can say definitively makes my pain worse the following day. I have a couple of glasses of wine on the weekend now.

    I know will help to get lean again. I put on about 25 pounds over the 18 months I was taking high doses of prednisone. While weight loss itself may not curtain the autoimmunity, for someone like me with a lot of osteoarthritis (knees, feet) it helps to be lighter. And that cumulative pain with the osteo and RA combined can be a lot to deal with at times. Good luck. I hope you find some things that work for you.

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