Welcome to our RAD family, Warrior. 🙂
You – yes, you, are a Warrior.
For simply living with RAD (rheumatoid arthritis disease), for taking steps every day to improve your quality of life, for researching your disease…
And if there’s one nugget of encouragement I can give to you today, it’s this:
You need to get a second job.
Yep. You need to get another job.
What in the…?
I’m grinning… You’re not. How come?
Okay, okay… Let me put it this way… It’s a job I have too. Sometimes it’s easy, and other times, it’s more challenging. But it’s worth every moment I spend working at it.
It’s the job of moving… Moving your body… And keeping your body moving.
Why is it a job?
When you’ve been diagnosed with RA, you must develop powerful, positive habits. When powerful, positive habits are in place, the difficult days won’t be quite as difficult… And when you view your fitness and body movement as a job – the job of taking care of YOU – you’re much more likely to develop habits to get you through the valleys and lows that are inevitable with our disease.
It’s easy to let the good days tick by without being proactive about our health. And, it’s no wonder those days fly by – how we enjoy and deserve those good days! But if we don’t do just a little bit of work and keep moving on our good days, it will be so much more difficult to get through the painful days. What’s more – if we continue to move, our mindset will be better prepared for those tough days – and that makes all the difference in the world.
Why taking the first step is crucial…
- Better flexibility. Does it sound more comfortable to sit on the sidelines? In the end, it’s actually not. Here’s why: moving our joints helps relieve stiffness and keeps them flexible.
- Stronger muscles. Exercise strengthens muscles, and strong muscles better support and protect our joints.
- Denser bones. It’s no secret: arthritis-related inflammation, and some of the drugs that treat our disease, can make our bones more fragile and more likely to break. Exercise boosts bone density, which could mean fewer fractures.
- A healthier heart. Exercise is good for everyone’s heart. Because we’re dealing with RA, that’s especially important, since RA makes us more likely to get heart disease.
- We’ll feel better. Exercise boosts our mood, gives us more energy, helps us sleep better, and can make us feel better about ourselves. And don’t forget – finding a workout buddy can make it a great opportunity to connect with friends and family socially.
50 Shades of Movement
The good news – besides your new job (I couldn’t resist:) – is that there are oodles and oodles of movements that do help RA.
Flexibility: Gentle flexibility exercises help your joints function normally. Do gentle flexibility exercises every day. Always listen to your body, and never stretch to the point of pain.
Strength Training: Use weights, resistance bands, or your own body weight to make your muscles work harder. Stronger muscles are are better able to support your joints. Join your local gym or YMCA – training with others is motivational and creates a support network. Work to gradually increase the amount or form of resistance. Do strengthening exercises every other day. Working with a physical therapist or trainer can help you get started. Proper form is paramount.
Aerobic: Feel that heart beat! Get your heart rate up — things like walking, dancing, bicycling, swimming (particularly good for those with advanced RA), running, or rowing — all count as aerobic exercise. It’s like kryptonite for your heart, lungs, weight, and bones. It’s also a great way to release stress and improve your mood. Get some aerobic exercise most days of the week, working up to 30 minutes each session.
Body work: Body work exercises, such as yoga and tai chi, work on posture, balance, coordination, and relaxation. They’re also phenomenal for mindset and inner peace.
**If you’re just starting your movement momentum, chat with your Rheumatologist to see if you have any limitations that you need to be aware of.
Ever need an extra oomph! of encouragement? Email me! I’ll share my workout for that day with you, and I’m always happy to just be here for you.
For my own schedule, I workout each day between 6:30-8 am. I strength-train and amplify my aerobic activity by incorporating HIIT (high intensity interval training). I have trained for years, and this routine makes my body and my mind happy.
Well, you walk onto a blog with the intention of reading an article, and you walk out with a second job…
What in the world just happened?!?
Truthfully, though, it’s the best investment you could ever make… It’s an investment in your health, your strength, your flexibility, your bones and your mindset. Your second job is to take care of yourself and to keep moving.
Now, go on. Keep moving.