I just met a member who is looking for a trainer to help her with a program for rheumatoid arthritis. Do you have any research on this? Or if not, any suggestions of things to stay away from? Any help would be great!
Arthritis is typically a condition that affects the elderly population, but certainly is limited to this group. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of degenerative arthritis that can be very painful and debilitating. Exercise has been shown to improve the symptoms of arthritis as well as improving endurance, muscular strength, and increasing soft tissue extensibility. These are all benefits in which medications cannot deliver.
With regards to exercise, if it increases painful symptoms , then modify the exercise to find a more comfortable motion. If all modifications fail then discontinue the exercise and choose an exercise which can be performed without complaint. For example if running increases you clients pain symptoms or dysfunction, try water running, pool aerobics, bicycling, or cross-country skiing. An integrated flexibility program should be the cornerstone of the program.
For flexibility exercises, consult the Personal Training on the Net stretching and exercise library. Also search in Keywords under Flexibility Training for many articles in this area.
- Bunning RD, Materson RS: A rational program of exercise for patients with osteoarthritis. Semin Arthrites Rheum. 1991. 21(3 suppl 2):33-43
- Elrick H: Commentary: exercise is medicine. 1996. Phys Sports Med. 24(2). Online article.