5 Rheumatoid Arthritis Energy Boosters

Simple ways to beat fatigue and stay active and energized with RA.

Health Monitor Staff
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We don't have to tell you that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can make you feel wiped out! The good news: There's a lot you can do to beat fatigue and put a spring back in your step. Read on.

Fight fatigue with fitness
It’s no secret that staying fit and active can have a significant impact on your rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and your energy level. But did you know that it takes only a small dose of exercise to feel a change in your body?

  • Start small to build your confidence. Many people like to begin a new fitness routine by going for walks at a moderately brisk pace—it’s that simple. Even if it’s for just 10 or 15 minutes, go for a walk today. You want to try to eventually increase to about 30 minutes of activity a day, if possible.
  • Add variety for even more benefit. While you probably hear a lot about the importance of “exercise,” sometimes it can be confusing to know exactly what that means. For a person with RA, there are three kinds of exercises that can be really beneficial:
  • Aerobic exercise (such as walking and swimming) strengthens your heart and improves your breathing.
  • Resistance exercise (such as lifting weights) strengthens and tones your muscles.
  • Range-of-motion exercise (such as yoga and stretching) can help keep you flexible.

Whatever activity you choose, start slow. Set small, reachable goals for the amount of time you plan to dedicate to exercise. Remember: Even a few minutes a day is better than no exercise at all! Check with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise program.

Avoid a wipeout—by taking it slow
When you have RA, life is a balancing act. You want to be active, but not overuse aching joints or put excess stress on your body.

The secret? Do everything in moderation. Use stronger joints to lift heavy things. Be smart about the number of physically demanding activities you do in one day. Rest between strenuous activities.

Fight sleepiness with these tricks
Having trouble getting a good night’s sleep is a common problem for people with RA. In fact, studies have shown that about one-third of people with RA experience disrupted or poor-quality sleep.

You already know your bedroom needs to be a place to help you relax. That means a comfortable mattress, high-quality pillows and light-blocking shades on windows.

But have you tried cleaning out the clutter? Don’t leave piles of unfolded laundry or unopened mail near your bed. Your bedroom should not be a vast wasteland of storage for half-finished activities and projects. Work to keep your room (and especially your nightstand!) neat and chaos-free.

April 2013