Apprehensive about joining a gym - Arthritis Action

Arthritis Action
5,008 members1,391 posts

Apprehensive about joining a gym

Wizard12
Wizard12
30 Replies

Hi everyone.

Have been struggling with this for a long time so I thought I'd ask all of you for your thoughts.

So my background is. Diagnosed with arthritis at 17. Wasnt managed properly and left to it. I am 43 now and am a mother of five. I am on methotrexate and cosentyx amongst other things and am now pretty mobile.

Due to the biologics I have put weight on(notnoverly) but have always struggled with the fact that I am.not fit. Biggest regret was giving up sports as it always caused so much pain when I was young.

I really want to get fit, and have always wanted to. My question to you guys is how do I get there. Joining the gym seems such a huge thing for me but I'm not self motivated at home.

Just wanted to know your experiences and how much you do or how little etc.

Look forward to hearing from you

30 Replies
oldestnewest
Oldschool01

Hello

Do you know what kinds of exercises you are able to do?

Have you been to the gym for a look around?

Reply
Wizard12

No havent taken that step. Have no idea what exercises I can do

Reply
Oldschool01

Go to the gym and ask can you have a free session (which most gyms offer) and ask can an instructor to show you around the different machines/equipment etc, try them out and see what is good for you, ask all the questions you want and make sure it's right for you. They also might have an instructor who is qualified as a personal trainer with doctor referral, who will be best qualified to help you if needed.

You can also ask when the gym is busy or when it's quiet so that you can choose what suits you.

If you do decide to join, the gym should have an instructor write you out a programme that is suitable for your needs and you should be shown how to do every exercise on the programme on your first day as a member.

I hope this helps you out a bit.

Reply
Wizard12

Good advice. Will definitely get them to do that. Thank you

1 like
Reply
Lolabridge

If your joints are damaged/swollen/painful you may find swimming or aqua aerobics better to start with as water reduces load on the joints. And suggest you take it gently ...

Reply
Wizard12
Wizard12
in reply to Lolabridge

Hi I tried swimming and it completely wiped me out, also the showeing and getting ready after was so exhausting.

Reply
poemsgalore1

Until you pluck up courage to join a group, here are some exercises you might like to try in the privacy of your own home. Do you have a special friend or relative who might be willing to join you?

arthritisaction.org.uk/livi...

Reply
Wizard12

Unfortunately not. I have contacted a gym and have been invited in, just need to actually get there, I just feel will it be a waste of their time as i don't think i would manage a lot in one go.

Reply
poemsgalore1

A good gym should discuss your condition and work out a series of exercises that might be suitable for you.

Reply
Wizard12

I'm hoping so. Just wanted to see if Any other sufferers actually go and how they find it

Reply
poemsgalore1

My daughter goes to the gym regularly. She enjoys it.

Reply
Wizard12

Oh great. How long does she manage? Does she have arthritis too

Reply
poemsgalore1

I don't talk about it to her, her partner works at a gym so they go together. She doesn't have arthritis.

Reply
Dogsforever

Hi I was told end of last year after months of a niggle I had arthritis, it shocked me as I was only 42 and it was the last thing I expected considering I’ve always been active. I joined a local gym and for me it’s been the best thing ever, I’ve tried a few in the past but like most things you have to keep looking. I went in with the attitude this is for me and me only as it’s my body. I’m like you no motivation on my own. Go for it give it a month and try another if it’s not right a good gym will support you and listen good luck in finding what works for you.

Reply
Deniseelk

My situation is slightly different as I was a member of my gym long before my RA started / was finally diagnosed. So I would suggest one nearby / easy to get to. See if u can start on a pay per visit as you will only be feeling well enough ( whether pain or tiredness) to go when your body allows. Look for one with a pool ( also jacuzzi) and has classes such as Yoga and Pilates ( or maybe a gentle stretch class).

For me, I have a destroyed right wrist and tendon swelling / issues in fingers of left hand. I also have pain in left foot ( which is kept manageable by wearing memory foam shoes / trainers at this stage). I have not been able to do weights and a limited amount of real cardio work ( occasion bit when I am not exhausted).

The support from attending the classes is great and a real boost to us mentally. My group “ miss” me when I can’t make a class ( usually due to fatigue).

In the early days before the medication started to control the disease I couldn’t go swimming mainly as I couldn’t dress / undress myself let alone the fatigue.... I knew I would at some point so did other things like yoga / Pilates and just stretching and walking on the treadmill.

On gym days don’t plan anything else initially and just enjoy your time. I call it “ my medicine”!

Be kind to yourself and don’t expect too much. Small steps to build up your strength and stamina. Do speak to your Rheumatologist team about suggestions in the gym. Some can refer you to their NHS physio department with Hydrotherapy pool ( depends where you are living/ UK?)

You may need to protect joints / straps / compression bandage etc.

So, at good times when pain under control and not too tired I do Yoga then quick gentle swim on one session and Pilates and gentle swim later in week. I walk my dog too around 3 or 4 mornings ( this would be a very good week)! At the moment I haven’t been to the gym for a few weeks ( somewhat due to fatigue creeping in and also busy with other commitments and doing those AND gym would certainly be too much) but am still trying to walk the dog ( so some exercise).

Hope this helps to guide you in expectations at the gym with RA.

Maybe look at the NRAS website too?

Reply
Wizard12
Wizard12
in reply to Deniseelk

Thanks for your really helpful reply, i think my first hurdle is actually getting there. Need to get that over and done with and then hopefully can move forward. Planning time for myself is a little difficult with the 5 kids and the only real time is when they are at school but then i'm worried i'll be good for nothing when they get home, i think a lot of it is just apprenhension and 'what if' i guess i won't know until i try.

Reply
Tillie20

Hi I excerise about 4 hrs a week Pilates Zumba stretch and tone + walking I live in the centre of London so do not drive only when I need to , I started about 2 years ago after I was diagnosed with RA I have put on a bit of weight but I feel fit as I exercise but if I have a flare I only do what I feel I can manage it does hurt to begin with as your muscles and joints have to get used to it but I should try it, you are still young and want to stay mobile so try it, but ask your Rheumy if it ok for you to do it X

Reply
Wizard12
Wizard12
in reply to Tillie20

Wow 4 hours sounds amazing, i am trying to walk as much as i can and am loving it but it's usually if i have an errand to do, wish i could walk to the shops and come back with shopping but there is no way i could carry shopping home! Have to say Rheumatology when it comes to this sort of thing i have found useless, they just deal with the meds and that's that. I do believe i've stayed mobile because of my children, couldn't ever just decide not to face the day had to get up no matter what! just really want to be fit now and not have the weakness i have. thanks for your advice

Reply
Tillie20

Hi I get my shopping delivered, I only carry a few bits and when my hands are bad my husband gets what we need, I do not go to the gym as I think they charge to much, In our area (Chelsea) we have a thing called New Horizon for over 50's that is really good (I know you are not 50) but see if there is something like this In your area, my Rheumy is great but yes they just deal with the medical side and some of the meds MTX and blood test

I still go to GP for other medical problems good luck with starting to do some exercise cx

Reply
Wizard12
Wizard12
in reply to Tillie20

Yeah I get my shopping delivered. Have done for years. Hardly ever go shopping. I will have a look for something in my area. Cost is definitely a concern.

Reply
Uzula

Have you considered Nordic Walking, its becoming increasingly popular in this country, I`ve just taken it up myself to lose weight (I got bored with the gym and because I`d signed a years contract, they didn`t do shorter subscriptions, I still had to pay, a hard lesson learnt, also I had to stop going as I was caring for my mum) It helps enormously with mobility, helps with joints and muscles (people with Alzheimers and Parkinsons are doing it too) burns up to 40 percent more calories compared to ordinary walking, also you cover more distance and use less energy. All you need is walking poles, a one off purchase for under a hundred pounds you can get good quality ones that will last years, I found an instructor that does one 2 one (there are group instructors) £40 for a 6 hour course (not all at once) and that`s it! You can go out when you please, I intend just walking to the shops and back etc with a rucksack if I buy one or two items from the shops. Once you`ve cracked the correct technique its off you go. There are some youtube videos that show what its all about. Anyway whatever you decide I wish you all the best.x

Reply
Wizard12
Wizard12
in reply to Uzula

Thank you. Have never heard of it but will definitely look into it. Love being able to walk really appreciate when you've been in a place where you can barely move. Thanks again

Reply
Uzula
Uzula
in reply to Wizard12

Just Google it and read what they say, I feel like I`m practically gliding and one of my issues is a gammy foot which has made it hard to walk the distances I used to walk, not no more. Nice to be outdoors too

Reply
Crazymama146

Hi, I've read all your replies. We Nordic walking, this is good if you can and like walking. I got my sticks from Lidl, cost about £20 but they don't sell them all the time. You can also get them on eBay or gumtree.

Im in my 50s, have had arthritis in my feet and ankles for 25 years. I've gained weight over the years, now 14 stone. I started at the gym about 8 years ago. My gp gave me 6 weeks on prescription ie I got it half price for the 6 weeks and then I joined on a monthly basis with my 15 year old (at the time) daughter. Got a reduced membership for 2 of us. This gave me motivation and we still go together occassionally.

Like you, I worried about what I could manage. At first, I could only manage to burn 10 calories by slow walking on the treadmill. Over the years, I got up to 250 in a session, but due to age, weight,deterioration of my mobility and other commitment, I can now only manage 160 to 170 calories burn.

Everybody says try swimming and seems to think I'm making excuses when I say that I can't swim very well, so I do water aerobics which I find more tiring than the gym.

All my exercise is planned so that I don't exercise on the days I work or have to stand and do ironing, because I can't do more than 1 on any day.

I think the gym is worth a try if you can do it cheaply via go or pay as you go, alternatively maybe an exercise bike at home, and set aside time to do this, maybe while watching a favourite programme.

Good luck

Reply
Wizard12

Thanks for all your advice. Planning exercise is so difficult with kids but I do try. I will definitely look into the walking

Reply
arthritis_action
arthritis_actionAdministrator

Thank you for the question, and it is great that you've decided to work on your fitness! Exercises are highly recommended for people with arthritis, however, they can be tough and painful if you don't pace and manage your physical activities and routines. We've put together a few videos on how you can exercise at home, on our self management resource page: arthritisaction.org.uk/onli...

Hope you find these helpful!

Reply
Wizard12

Brilliant thank you. Will take a look

Reply
Kneesandtoes

I had a gym program worked out for me about sixteen years ago. The aim was to strengthen the muscles around the big joints. It worked and I have added to it as I have found exercises that suit. I have had periods with injuries, but worked my way back. The advantage with the gym is that you work at your own pace. I notice the difference when I have been away only a week or two.

Reply
Catseyes235

If you’re in the UK go and see your doctor or check your council website as there are sometimes local authority run schemes to get people going to gyms or have their own instructors. In Kingston we have Betterbones classes and

I went to some subsidised gym sessions with a personal instructor. It was pretty good and I did lose a few pounds but on my own I found I just got bored but you may have the right mentality for it, so maybe find a companion to go with to provide impetus. Good luck!

Reply
JoPilates17

Hi

I have osteoarthritis, and I was in pain after my first baby was born until last year. My private physio gave me exercises to do for my lower back, and he also encouraged me to come off co-codamol, as it stops the body releasing its own painkiller.

As far as exercise is concerned, I believe in Pilates classes. I am actually a Pilates instructor, which I started teaching a few years ago, after going to a Pilates class for people with back pain. It was run by a physiotherapist in a hospital, and she also suffered from back pain. After an hour's class all my pain had gone (although it gradually came back). Nowadays lots of people come up to me after class and say their backpain has gone, which is very rewarding. It is a comparatively gentle form of exercise and lots of doctors and physiotherapists will recommend their patients go to Pilates. I had someone in my class last week who told me her osteopath advised her to come to Pilates. I hope you find this helpful and that you get yourself to a beginners Pilates class with a good instructor.

I don't suffer from backpain anymore except for the odd twinge when I have been overdoing it.

Best wishes

Jo Pilates

1 like
Reply

You may also like...