Stay Motivated to Move With RA

Exercise is crucial for managing rheumatoid arthritis. Here’s how to get motivated and stay active. 

Susan Amoruso
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Reframe your thinking. Stop thinking of working out as a dedicated activity that will take up a chunk of time. Fitness can mean any type of physical activity, from taking the stairs to cleaning the house. So if the gym or a class just isn’t for you right now, try seeking more opportunities to move throughout the day. Why not vow to never take an elevator when your destination is below the third floor? Or do a few biceps  curls while watching your favorite television show? Talk with your healthcare provider about the type of movement that’s right for your specific symptoms.

Plan it out.
Plotting your workout schedule can help you stick to your routine, but don’t be too rigid. Designate three or four time slots a week, and be willing to shuffle your schedule, if, say, you’re having a flare or are faced with an unexpected work event.

Pick up a pen. And start recording your daily moves. Jot down what you did and for how long—chores count!—and then add it all up at the end of each day. Also: Note any differences in how you feel. Are you waking up with less stiffness? Enjoying more energy? Documenting your progress will help strengthen your motivation.

Make a date.
Whether you plan a morning walk with a neighbor or sign up for a swim class, setting an appointment will help you stick with your fitness plan. Set the alarm on your smartphone as a reminder.

April 2013