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Impossible to excersise

This is really shallow question but I would value like minded opinions

These past few months have been awful with lethargy I have never experienced, I have always been an excersise addict and cannot handle losing muscle mass

This diagnosis has added years to me. I cannot handle the thought of never been able to power walk and lift weights.

I know this will probably stir feelings but im feeling rather angry that I cannot do things I loved, every part of my body hurts and aches and im so frustrated,

I dont know if the thyroid is to blame or the RA.

Will I ever be fit or am I confined to the house?

sorry if I upset anyone in the process of this post- not intended ;-(

11 Replies

Hi Reikmaster - don't be so hard on yourself - why would people be upset? You are just voicing what many of us feel - it's very uphill sometimes isn't it?

I do exercise most days using the nintendo wii, walking the dog and tai chi and now a gentle aerobics/ popmobility class. I have days where I just can't be bothered to do proper exercise and days when I don't walk the dog (weather can be off putting) and lately I've been struggling more often to find energy and overcome aches and stiffness so I understand how you feel. But I do push myself hard to keep going. I think if you can just do something quite gentle to start with and give yourself a target each day you will get back on track reasonably soon. But you have to take it very slowly and just do a tiny bit more each day. It doesn't hurt to push yourself a bit but don't try and run before you can walk.

I didn't exercise nearly as much before RA and since it I've found that if I push myself I may pay a price but usually it just gets easier next time so I'm fairly sure I'm not making myself worse. I'm also hypothyroid and I don't think it's that for me because my blood tests all come back fine so I assume it's the RA that makes me extra tired sometimes and my muscles often ache when I try new exercises or do one exercise for longer but it usually wears off after a few goes.

Have you got a physio? If not ask your GP to see one asap or failing that pay to see one - it would be money well spent if you get someone good. Mine has been brilliant and I usually double check with her when I see her every few months in the GP surgery, that what I'm doing in terms of exercise is okay. Tilda xx


Hi, I also have underactive thyroid so I understand what you say about feeling lethargic. Even though it's hard I still try to walk my dogs twice a day and swim 2/3 times a week. Before I started mtx in May I found doing this really hard as every step hurt so much but emotionally I needed to fight back. At the moment I'm feeling a lot better so I'm not in so much pain but I still have to kick myself into action as the fatigue makes staying home an attractive prospect. Since diagnosis I've worked hard at my fitness and lost weight so to be honest I probably feel younger than this time last year. My fear is for my future health but for now I try to enjoy the things I can do and make the most of every day. Have you had a recent thyroid test and medication review as it sounds like you're living with a lot of discomfort right now. Maybe a change in medication or some better pain relief could help? I hope you can get some relief soon.

Paula x


Hi there,

I absolutely understand how you feel. I am finding it hard to contemplate life without aerobic exercise. By this I mean not just brisk walking or dancing or whatever but even a mad attack of housework or helping chop down a tree .... anything that gets the oxygen circulating and the endorphins going (not to mention getting routine jobs done.) I want to burst through the front door healthily knackered and wolf down a fry-up.

The only time, however, that I have actually felt so sorry for myself that I had to fight back the tears was when I saw a Paintball company handing out info. in town. The xmas before last we treated the whole family to a game of paintball on Boxing Day, that included my 3 adult sons & (you may think this is weird) my ex-partner, their dad. I'd never had the slightest desire to shoot people with pods of paint before, but something has to give on Boxing Day! It was just fantastic! We all really went for it, it was a complete blast & we talked about it for hours afterwards like a bunch of kids.

However ... like you, I am sure, I am looking for ways round things. I bought a second-hand exercise bike today because apparently it is vital that I build up my quads. Had to drive a fair distance to get it & on the way back my husband wanted to look at a lake that proved very elusive but I just kept walking & walking even tho' every step hurts just now. I'm struggling even to get around the house at times but I do feel like I've had some proper exercise for the first time in ages - it's a good feeling.

It is just going to be different, isn't it? Maybe very different but you can still do marvellous things - I intend to! Bloody RA just can't mess up everything, not even with a bit of help from your thyroid. What types of exercise can you do that are closest to weights and power walking in terms of the effect on body & mind? I'd guess that you are quite knowledgeable about such things. (Any quad advice for someone with knackered knees gratefully received. I'm not going to take the bingo wings lying down, either!)

I'm wondering why you are experiencing such awful lethargy at the moment. I looked at your profile & saw you were diagnosed in 2011 so looks like it hasn't always been part and parcel of your illness?? That's got to be the first thing to tackle as it is bound to paint everything in shades of doom.

At the moment I'm trying to ensure that I'm getting the treatment I need & seems to me you need your Rheumy's (or other doctor's) help to beat the lethargy. And tell us all how you are feeling, get it out of your system. Sometimes replies help but I feel that often enough just summarising how I feel & putting it out there helps me to find answers for myself.

Christina xx



I actually have been exactly like you. I went from exercising most days and aerobics and swimming to being ill the next day. My rheumy actually ( unusually though) told me not to exercise but that in my case i had to rest my joints. Now i know most other people will have different symptoms and advice and encouraged to exercise but |I could not.

I laid around in pain for ages and ages until they got my pain meds and my RA drugs in the right combination for me and on Monday they told me that my inflammation was starting to go down and he was very pleased at my xrays and said as I had followed his advice my joint s did not look damaged!!

I too was fed up and worried that I would never get back to normal and I gained weight, I was so tired I didnt want to do anything anyway! I couldnt walk to the car never mind exercise but my head kept saying "your just being lazy", I know now I wasnt, I was inflammed and sore.

I also got a bit down, not really depressed but fed up at the situation I found myself in, one day fit and well the next tired and ill and it was hard, but I recognised that it was all part and parcel of the illness.

Now they have just said (if my mri results on wednesday are ok) they want me to do at least 6 month rehab , physio and last. But be patient and when they get your meds sorted out you should feel better. Listen to your body and rest if you need to, and have a word with Docs about your tiredness. I did feel older at first as well, but now they are starting to get me controlled i am starting to feel younger Hang on in there, I was diagnosed march 11 and its just luck they tried Humira this time round which seems to be the one working for me. and I hope they find your best drug soon. Hugs Axx


Hi when i was first diagnosed with RA I was also diagnosed with having a problem with one of my parathyroids ( turning too much protein to calcium in the blood ) not long after this I had the problem one removed ( we have four two each side of the thyroid ) I did feel better after this op, although the RA hasn't improved much, but I do a lot of cycling when I can and I have found swimming invaluable. I hope this helps



I hope you're feeling well today? Don't worry about upsetting anyone here, everyone understands what you're going through; most of us are experiencing the same frustrations and can empathise strongly with you.

I have stopped exercising recently, not only was it damaging my joints but the fatigue simply sapped all of my will and energy. Personally, I think the MOST IMPORTANT thing is to get your medication sorted out as soon as possible. If the medication is working properly, you shouldn't feel as fatigued and you shouldn't have much inflammation, this should allow you to exercise properly and exercise is key to keeping the RA at bay, it's incredibly important.

You may need to address your current course of treatment and push for something better. The best drugs, anti-tnf, are very expensive and specialists are reluctant to prescribe them because of the cost-factor. However, I know for a fact that these drugs would be used first time, every time, if there wasn't a cost issue. So push for them, and push really hard. Cimzia was developed in this country by a British man and he currently offers the drug for 3-6 months free of charge to the NHS to see how well it works. Ask your specialist about it, and also about any anti-tnf trials going on to see if you can try it.

Personally, I've been pushing for these drugs all year. Finally, FINALLY!! I've got them, the first delivery is tomorrow. Whether they work for me or not remains to be seen but I'm very hopeful. And maybe soon I'll be able to get my, now wrinkly, bum back into shape...!!

Listen to your body; if it's tiredness thats stopping you from exercising then just power through, if it's pain and inflammation then you are more than likely doing damage that can be permanent. Get your meds sorted and get your life back.

I'm sending you good vibes ;-D

Jewels x


I know it seems to go against how you are feeling, but often doing some exercise can make you feel less lethargic and disinclined to do anything.

It's worth just doing a little - break it into small amounts, like just walking up and down stairs or looking at and then doing some seated exercises for your upper body. You get a sense of achievement from having done something, and often a sense of ,not exactly well-being, but at least "better-being". Even just having a walk around the garden and talking to the plants can make me feel better.


Hi, I share your frustration big time! I used to go to the gym five to six times a week, swim and walk for miles at the weekend. I hung onto my gym membership for months with the hope i would go back but it wasnt to be. I've given my eldest daughter all my gym gear and cried after my younger daughter asked if she could borrow my trainers. Some time ago i was driving my car looking at 2 ladies jogging along on the pavement on my right and i thought- enjoy it girls as you dont know how you will be when you wake up tomorrow, as i went round the corner on the opposite side there was a man struggling along on 2 sticks and my immediate thought was that 'ive crossed over the road'. 2 years on and i havent found a replacement for all my hobbies which all involved exercise, i now have a flabby tum and dinner lady arms and feel awful- i think even Gok would have his work cut out to sort me.

I dont know what the answer is, i tried wrongly in the beginning to fight, not give in and struggle on but it just resulted in inflamation going up and up before i finally grasped the 'you have to pace yourself' motto, problem is that my pace is now a snails pace and its very boring!

I'll keep my fingers crossed that its your thyroid as then you will have a better change of maybe picking up your weights again, take care,x


Hi reikimaster

i wasnt going to write anything today as i feel really really down at the moment so thought i wouldnt be any help ! ! but i feel i must as i know exactly exactly how you feel . . . . i think you have to take what everyone else has said and roll it all into one - sorry not explaining very well but i mean i feel very angry at times, want to give in, struggle to push myself and generally dont know what to do ! ! !

Cherry is totally spot on when she says "it feels like you have crossed to the other side of the road" and i think that is what is hard to accept - even when we think we have accepted it we havent really !

anyway on a better note ( i did say i am very down at the moment - all this doom and gloom sorry ) i have been doing acqu at my local gym and try and push myself in it but it feels fine as it in water and i feel all light and floaty ! i also go in the gym and try and do some stuff - up and down a staircase thing, trying to strengthen my quads by moving around with a big ball ! ! ! and i still get lots of hellos from fit guys and smiles - so i walk out feeling i might not be so bad after all . . . . .

please write up again and let me know how you are getting on - i am not sure whether to ask for counselling as have never had any ? ?

big hugs and cuddles sent to you

beachbabe x


So sorry you are feeling so bad. When I was first told I had RA I was to the point where it was in my knees and wrist, I could not turn over in the bed. My wonderful husband was there then for me and is now. I am on Remicade and MTX now and have learned "I must excerise" if only a little. Building mustle around these joints help. Take Care!



I really appreciate this I cannot tell you how much there is no number big enough.

I was feeling super a few weeks ago- but the dreaded Thyroid kicked in - which means the RA had to have a say also!!!!!

I was doing weights in the kids 6 weeks holidays- but the Thyroid meds (im on T3 only) have not been giving me the usual boost, so its back to the hospital to see another consultant (No 4)- to try and sort this out- I feel sure that once the thyroid is fixed, my energy will be too, and my hair and the RA, So I wont be poking brains on here to answer why I feel like I feel.

Thank you all for your words of encouragement xXx - I feel much better now :-)


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