Can patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis benefit from a regular exercise program?
Regular exercise can increase their functional levels, including endurance, muscle strength, activities of daily living, and mobility. Isometric exercises are preferred for joints with active inflammation. RA patients can benefit from low-repetition, low-resistance isotonic exercises, frequently undertaken through short arcs compared with the entire arc of motion. Gradually resistance and repetitions can be increased. Paraffin baths of the hands can be particularly helpful to warm joints before active exercise. RA patients are encouraged to alternate exercise and periods of rest (short rest) for energy conservation. (Vlieland TP, Van den Ende CH. Nonpharmacological treatment of RA. Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2011;23:259–264.)