Jogging with RA

Hi all.

My husband and I have recently started jogging in an attempt to get fit. Me being me didn't bother getting advice from anyone before we started but after our first few runs I thought I should do some research into running with RA. It seems that until recently doctors advised that you shouldn't run/jog with RA but have recently decided that it's probably ok. Generally my condition is well managed with very few flare ups and it's no worse after I've been jogging. I just wondered if anyone else jogs with RA and what they've found?

Thanks :)

23 Replies

  • I don't run but I have been doing a lot of low impact exercise.. barre, pilates, yoga, swimming etc. I have personally found that even if your in a lot of pain it is important to keep moving and do some exercise. This can really help keep your joints stay strong and I also think that you are less likely to get joint damage.

    If you don't keep your joints moving then I believe that this is where you can run into problems, even if your in a crap load of pain then I would see a physio and do some light exercise at home.

    All the best.

  • Hey there :) My rheumy says jogging is good as long as it doesn't make you feel worse and of course as long as you don't jog while you've got active inflammation. Just make sure you've got proper running shoes with the right kind of support and you should be fine :) I've been jogging a lot myself ever since I've been in remission but have switchd to cycling as I've got inflammation in my right foot at the moment! Love, Christine xx

  • Exercise if definitely a good thing with RA. Which exercise really rather depends on you, and which are your weak joints. If your feet, knees and hips are ok in terms of RA and OA then jogging might well suit you. But do remember to warm up and cool down properly, wear good running shoes, and build up strength slowly.

    I think you're quite young, so do remember these joints will have to last you a long time yet! I now regret that I didn't take more care of my back when I was younger, and was constantly overdoing it or not bothering to lift things properly and so on (I was a gardener then). Now I regret it as OA has attacked those vertebrae & my knees with a vengeance. I'm sure if I hadn't subjected back and knees to such a bad upbringing they would be in a better state now.

  • Thanks for all the replies! I'm 26 and I was diagnosed at 21. I'm trying to get fit to prepare my body for pregnancy in the hope that being off my medication won't be so bad if I'm fit and healthy (!) I'm waiting for a bike helmet to arrive and I plan to swim once a week too :)

  • if you do a google search there are lots of articles that talk about arthritis and pregnancy so you might want to read them. Also if you are planning on getting pregnant please look into supplementing with iodine. Also supplements like turmeric, cherry tart tablets etc can also help with inflammation in the body.

  • If planning pregnancy please check with a midwife or obstetrician or rheumatology doctor about supplements - and the evidence behind them.

  • Aurora I agree with you but because most people are deficient in iodine I do believe that it is important to talk a gynaecologist and get iodine levels tested before becoming pregnant. If someone is iodine deficient this can affect the baby's brain etc etc. :)

  • Please do follow AuroraB's advice. Many supplements recommended for pregnancy are contraindicated for those with RD. This link from Arthritis Research UK explains

    I wish you lots of luck & hope when you do fall pregnant your RD behaves itself.

  • Thanks guys. The only thing I plan to take is folic acid which is fine :)

  • Very wise. :)

  • I don't jog but I have started an Oasis at the Gym and it has certainly helped me. I do an hour a week at the moment and I've reduced my weight which has given me some relief. Delia. X

  • I saw a physiotherapist this week & he recommended swimming & cycling if you have RA. Also Pilates & Yoga. But not until my RA gets under control.

  • Low impact exercise is probably safer, but it really depends on how well your conditions is managed. Have you discussed it with your doctor? If you do keep up the jogging, do make sure you buy the best shoes you can to be sure that your feet are protected from impact.

  • I would have thought brisk walking was better and easier on the joints than jogging whether one has RD or not.....whatever one's age. I have read this is the better option.

  • I guess this makes sense but I have no ill effects from the jogging. Being so unfit, my jogging isn't much more than a brisk walk anyway! I don't think I would ever really run, just light jogging

  • I used to run half marathons before children and RA. I am now training for a 5K with my 6 year old son - his first race! When I was diagnosed, I think the very first google search I did was "Running with RA" and I was gratified to see lots of examples of people who run with RA, including those who only started running after diagnosis! The most important thing with running, as with anything else is, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Don't push yourself too hard. If it starts to feel like too much, stop and walk the rest of the way. It's good to cross train with cycling - I know for me that cycling allows me to move while giving the bottoms of my feet a break. You may also want to to stretching/yoga to ensure you don't get a running injury like tight IT band, plantar fasciitis or shin splints. People without RA get those too!

    Since getting my RA under control, I've moved to a "barefoot" lifestyle (happily ditching orthotics and heavy running shoes) and now I run with my Vibram Five Fingers. It took a LONG time to adjust to running with VFFs, I wore them for every day use literally every day for over a year before I felt confident to run in them (but that's also because I foolishly went for a 6K the day after I bought them and hurt my heel). No heel striking with VFFs!! Obviously, it's a personal choice, but I just want you to know that there are other footwear options. VFFs give my toes more range of motion, and I think they've helped to keep my toes mobile and unaffected by my last flare. They're also super comfortable. :)

    Good luck with your family plans!

  • Thanks Karen, that's teally helpful! I have only just started jogging so well after my diagnosis. My muscles are sore but so far I've got no joint pain as a result so I'm feeling positive :)

    I'm waiting for a bike helmet to come and then we're going to alternate cycling with jogging and I'm going to try doing Pilates with the help of the Internet - I can't bring myself to sacrifice another evening of my week to going out!)

    Thanks for the advice :)

  • I super love Yoga with Adriene (Youtube). She's very perky, so her personality may or may not be your cup of tea. My favourite is "Goodnight yoga" as it is more gentle - a great "stretch" before bed. I've also done her morning yoga routines. One is super gentle and you spend most of it lying down. I think it's perfect for RA as it makes you stop and stretch/wiggle your fingers and toes, ankles and wrists, something we should be doing frequently but don't - at least speaking for myself! I need to be told what to do :)

    Good luck! I remember my personal trainer of my pre-RA days telling me "use it or lose it" and "when you rest, you rust". I think both apply quite well to RA - as well as her other advice, "if it hurts, stop".

  • I've got a sore knee today (I blame the swimming) and it's pouring down so we did some Pilates from an app sprawled on the living room floor - where there is most definitely not enough room for me and my 6'2" husband but we did it and it felt like we got quite an effective workout without working really hard at it. Definitely going to do it again :)

  • I have RA and I do a great deal of cardio on elliptical machines.

  • I have RA and run quite often. It is really necessary to have a good pair of shoes preferably from a running store where they will fit you. I'm not heavy so that doesn't put a lot of extra strain on my joints

  • I'm looking for a pair. I went to the sports shop yesterday and the cheapest ones were £60! I realise it's important to have some but I think I'll scour the web before paying that much. It's a shame we can't get some kind of NHS discount :p

    I'm not too heavy either so I reckon I can prance about without doing too much mischief :)

  • How about doing as I did when my Podiatrist suggested I wear trainers instead of slippers round the house. I've not worn trainers for 40 odd years so I went & tried some on in the shops & then came home & searched the internet, including eBay & Amazon, & found two pairs, both brand new at over half the cost of retail price. One pair were £75 in the shops but I got them for £30 free p&p! I so love a bargain lol! :)

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