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Are You Working Out With RA Or Is RA Working Out With You?

I seem to have gone on a workout sabbatical.  I can’t really explain why, but I seem to have developed workout anxiety.

I just haven’t been able to do it.  I’ve thought about it, but it’s been easier to stay on the couch.

And a lack of working out, plus being on steroids, has been a bad combination.

You would think that with having a gym in my boyfriend’s father’s building, where we are living right now, would be a motivation.

But it’s almost too easy.  It’s there, and all I have to do is gone downstairs.

In the four months that I’ve been in New York, I’ve worked out about as much as I did in one month in Michigan.

In Michigan, I was doing kickboxing once a week and a workout DVD twice a week.

But as I say, I’ve really been struggling lately with balancing everything and one of the things that has taken a back seat is my physical activity beyond what I do to get where I have to go.  I have also been battling pretty severe fatigue.

While reading “Chronic Resilience” by Danea Horn, she suggests that you think about doing something because of how you will feel afterwards.  In our instant gratification culture, we want to feel great in the moment.

But sometimes pain or discomfort is worth it.

It’s a mind shift.  It’s much easier to not do something that seems hard or difficult than it is to tell yourself you will feel better and it will be worth it after you’re done doing it.

And think about it this way:

A 45-minute workout – I get 2.5 miles on the treadmill in that time – is just 9 five-minute songs.

It’s ¾ of an hour long TV show or 1 and ¼ of a half-hour long TV show.

My point is, time can fly by listening to music or watching TV and sitting on your butt.

Or in that time, you can get a workout in.  And by that I mean whatever you are physically able to do.  This varies for everyone.  I am not a runner and have never been a runner, pre-illness or now, so that is just something that is not on my list.  But it may be for you.

I have a rocking playlist that I rediscovered when I worked out this week, and it really helped me slog through.  And actually, it wasn’t even a slog.  When I was done, I did indeed feel good.

I had to chronicle my workout routine for last year, and I made my own video commemorating what I’ve done kickboxing wise.

I included it here in the hope that maybe it will inspire you to get off the couch, and do whatever you feel up to doing.

The winter can make it hard to get outside and stay active, not just for those of us with RA, but others, as well.

Of course, as it is January, the New Year, and time for resolutions, a few of mine include getting off of steroids, workout at least two but preferably three times a week, and drinking more water.

It’s important to take control over the things we can, and to try and work through the rest.


This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Andrew Lumpe, PhD moderator
    6 years ago

    Thanks so much for sharing the video Leslie…very inspiring!

  • Sally Gecks
    6 years ago

    I find exercise to be my most effective ally in the fight against RA and fibro pain. If I don’t exercise (in the water) my pain increases about 60X. Hang in there & don’t give up! The steroids should make the workout easier, not more difficult. I know how hard it is to go to the gym when you’re in pain, but it’s totally worth it in the end. I did find that I had to D/C seeing a trainer. He didn’t understand RA & had me doing everything on my feet. I’ve had 10 fusions in my right foot. I just couldn’t handle being on my feet to exercise like that! You have to be selective in what workout you do. Water is especially great because you only weigh one tenth of your effective weight in the water. I can run, jump and dance in the water where I can’t on land! I love it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!!

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