Wishing you all a very belated happy new year!
I don’t know about you but in these murky depths of snowy January I’m finding its getting tough to stick to my very well-intentioned new year’s resolutions. Many of mine were along the typical lines of ‘eat more veg, avoid all the leftover Christmas goodies and be more active’, so I’ve been weaning myself off chocolate (slowly!) and taken up yoga. I got off to a bit of a wobbly start trying to bend myself into positions that I’m sure should only be possible by members of the feline species! But even just 3 weeks in I can feel my balance improving and I’ve mastered the art of remembering to breathe – quite important! It is difficult to motivate myself to get off the sofa and venture out into the cold night but it really is worth it. And I know from speaking to many of you on the helpline that while exercise is often the last thing you feel like doing, it really can have widespread benefit and be very enjoyable when we’ve mustered the motivation. So if you haven’t yet made a 2013 resolution maybe it could be to get more active!
Exercise has been proven to improve mood and aid sleep quality as well as having many physical benefits including improving cardiovascular health, joint flexibility and muscular strength. Obviously you need to choose an exercise that is right for you, and often more low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming and stretching exercises like tai chi will be most suitable for those with RA. But it’s also important to choose something you enjoy. If you are looking to start a new exercise regime it would be a good idea to have a chat with your GP or rheumatology team, or ideally a physiotherapist who should be able to advise on which types of exercise will be most suitable for you specifically.
There’s lots of information around on different types of exercise and how to build up your fitness slowly, especially at this time of year when everyone seems to have the exercise bug! There’s some good general information on the NHS Choices website ‘Livewell’ section: nhs.uk/LiveWell/Fitness/Pag...
But for more specialist information on exercising when you have RA, try the NRAS website and Arthritis Research UK’s useful ‘Exercise and Arthritis’ booklet, available on their website:
NRAS lifestyle section on exercise: nras.org.uk/about_rheumatoi...
ARUK Exercise and Arthritis: arthritisresearchuk.org/art...
If none of the more conventional types of exercise tickle your fancy you might also like to have a read of our brand new ‘Sex, drugs and RA’ article which might help to inspire a more ‘alternative’ way of getting active this year! nras.org.uk/about_rheumatoi...
So I hope you enjoy the last few days of January and any new activities you decide to undertake in 2013, whether out in the fresh air, immersed in the swimming pool, or under the duvet!
P.S. While you are online, before you start doing any of those active things, please fill in our new ‘Social Media’ survey investigating the use of social media by those with RA: