Hi! So I wanted to expound a little bit on the article: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/new-year-resolutions-exercise due to a few requests to explain and maybe get into specific exercises. Before we start, please check out and refresh yourself with the article so that you can safely proceed with some of the exercises, if you should choose to try them (after checking with your physician, of course!).
Many people say that exercise and moving helps with their RA, and while I was skeptical for years, after I started doing it I am a convert. I think it does help. Here are a few of the exercises I do.
Since I have bad shoulders but I still wanted to be able to have strength to hold things up, I devised a way to make the muscle a little stronger without too much risk of injury to myself. I take a pair of socks - something that's easy to grab and can also be tied around the wrists (lightly) if need be if your hands can't grasp. Inside the sock you can put anything - batteries, golf balls, a tube of toothpaste - that's the great versatility of this exercise. You can make it as light or as heavy as you want. Once you get the weight right, just hold your arms in front of your and lift up straight as high as you can without pain. Do it slow - 3 seconds up, pause for a second, three seconds down. ALWAYS start off slow - even two or three times will eventually make you a bit stronger. If you are like me, though, after years of RA, shoulders are a weak spot.
Another exercise I created is one to help get up off the floor when I (inevitably) fall down. I am always worried no one will be around to help and there won't be anything near to grab onto. That means leg strength (and knee flexibility, but that's another issue). In order to help build up the strength needed to do this, I lay in back on my back, and then simply turn over and try to put my knees underneath me. That's it. I know it may not seem like much, but think about what you do to get up off the floor. People like us would turn over, and the try to pull our knees up so that we can, at least, get upright on our knees and once you are there you can, if nothing else, scoot over to something to grab on to. Try this in bed for safety and see how close you can get to getting up onto your knees. Eventually you'll be able to if you keep at it.
Finally, the last one I will share with you today is a finger exercise I do. I am a writer and I am terrified that my fingers and hands are going to be stricken with bad RA and I will lose my (albeit tiny) career. So, I do as much finger exercising as I can. What this involves is taking the same socks from exercise 1, and balling them up inside themselves. Then, simply squeeze! You can do all the fingers at once, or you can do each finger individually, like I do. It sounds like a nothing exercise but I PROMISE you within 6-7 squeeze you will start feeling the burn in your hand and forearms. This one builds up muscle fast and also keeps the finger joints moving.
So there you have it, three of the exercises I came up with to help with the daily grind of RA. As always, use the S.T.O.P. method in the article mentioned above and never, NEVER, utter the phrase "NO PAIN, NO GAIN." That way leads to madness. Talk soon!