Exercise and motivation : I've developed an annual... - NRAS

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Exercise and motivation


I've developed an annual cycle of being relatively inactive over winter, picking up my walking and incredibly gentle jogging in the spring, developing a flare and avoiding the excess heat in summer, then getting back into walking in autumn until it gets too cold again.

I'm thinking about getting a gym membership again, but it's very hard to stay motivated when I have periods of enforced inactivity where I lose what little progress I've made.

Does anyone have any tips on how to stay motivated or types of exercise I can do even during a flare? I'd rather not swim due to time and finance issues (swim membership at my local is disproportionately expensive). I work full time so it's tricky to find classes that are gentle on the joints after 6/6.30pm and I'm just losing the will.

6 Replies

Many people find it difficult to be motivated to attend gym sessions regularly, especially if they work full-time. Over the years I started and stopped loads of times and only after my RA got so bad in my hands that I accidentally found that my body reacted in a positive way after about 25 minutes of hard work into exercising in a spinning class. At the time my new consultant decided that it wasn't obvious that I had RA and stopped prescriptions, I had to rely on strong pain killers to help. Spinning classes were a godsend and maybe worthwhile you giving it a go. Wish you well in your battle.

in reply to gmac01

Thank you! It's just so annoying the year before diagnosis I was the fittest I've ever been and was planning to do my first proper distance runs (10km and the like). Now that's looking less and less likely to ever happen

Hi Chrissy, I have been struggling with the same thing. I used to be very active, I loved going to hot yoga classes especially. The classes I enjoyed were very rigorous and I just can’t do it anymore. It was actually while doing yoga that I first started noticing joint issues. It was a gradual progression but eventually it got so bad that I completely stopped going to any classes.

I started on enbrel about 6 months back and was doing well so I joined a gym and started doing pilates classes. It was going great for a while, but as the class progressed once again the exercises got too hard on my joints.

I’m finally starting to accept that I’ll never be able to be as active as I once was. But I’m also exploring what I can do safely. Lots of the pilates exercises I was enjoying are still accessible to me, so I do them at home. I’ve also started doing some resistance band workouts. That’s newer for me but it feels like a promising option - I can do exercises that feel strengthening without feeling like my bones are going to break.

At the gym if I want some cardio I usually go for the elliptical which is ok for me most of the time.

Good luck figuring it out, be patient and listen to your body!

in reply to cshah

I might give resistance bands a go! Do you just use YouTube for routines?

I have the same issue with the heat and it’s very hot where I live. Flares are so unpredictable and awful.

in reply to nablur

I almost think the unpredictability of them is at least as bad as the pain and restriction the flares cause. It's even making me hold myself back at work

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