Just wondering whats the best exercise with ra and joint impact.

We have a zumba class at school after kids have gone but am reluctant to go incase i do more damage.

Girls have said just go easy but i know i wouldnt be able to. Up until i had my son when i was 30 i done 3 classes a week, aerobics, step aerobics, circuit training and im the type of person who has to give 100% otherwise i dont see the point in doing it.

Just wondering if anyone else does zumba and is t high impact. My knees are quite sore most days but need to start some exercise.




21 Replies

  • zumba ?? what the hells that ?? i will google it .. anything thats NOT high impact i think is the rule ... so no rugby ,, jo .. :) x

  • Oh i only referee the tag rugby at school for y6 kids, no strenuous running around for me lol



  • Hey Josie,

    My rheumy says activity and exercise is great for RA provided you don't have a lot of active inflammation going on!! He even encourages me to go jogging! My RA is really well controlled though. I do a lot of sports, walking, cycling, jogging and I haven't had any issues. My rheumy says, exercise doesn't make RA worse - on the contrary.

    I'm the same as you, I need to be active or I get really depressed so even during my active RA I'd go for walks etc even though it was tiring and hurt.

    As long as you take a break if your joints get painful during the exercise and don't exercise during a flare up you should be fine :)

    Christine xxx

  • Hi Jo

    I do zumba and only started since joint problems started, thought I might struggle and to be honest there is a lot I cant do which I didnt realise until I started. It is important that you tell the instructor of your medical problems, mine is really understanding and says if there is something i cant do just to march. I have really enjoyed the classes and was expecting to suffer the day after but was pleasantly surprised that i didnt. The one thing i would say to be careful of is any movement which may twist your knees and avoid these

    good luck and heres to keeping fit


  • Thanks all for the info.



  • Hi Jo

    I go horseriding if that's any help. It's pretty low impact (unless you fall off as I did two weeks ago!), and I'm having dressage-type lessons which are fantastic for balance and core strength. It also means I'm out in the fresh air doing something I love.

    Dotty xx

  • Hi Jo, I joined a gym in December and go swimming, spinning, use the elliptical trainer and stationary bike. I started doing a class called "Hour of power" which was very high energy and I loved it but unfortunately my body complained too much so after 3 classes I had to give it up. I also gave up pilates as it included too many exercises which strained the wrists. The thing is to just try whatever you fancy and see how you get on. Like Andy says just avoid high impact.

    Paula x

  • I do Zumba - about 20 minutes a day on Nintendo Wii (you can get the Zumba cd) and once a week in the local community centre on Sunday afternoons for 45 minutes. I also do tai chi, which helps the joints but is a big struggle for my brain, and a Popmobility class an hour after injecting my MTX - which I find hardest because of floor exercises - many of which I'm too stiff to do properly. The Zumba is the best adrenalin rush and gets the weight off - not high impact in my class and no strain in wrists which are worst affected joints for me. But today I really sent up to it and she worked us really hard and I thought I might pass out at one point - not pain just fatigue and sore tummy. I think I might be quite inflamed just now in a very systemic, general way - so I probably shouldn't have gone but I'm a bit addicted as it just warms me up and its sort of hot and Latin - unlike home! Xx

  • Paulywoo

    Thats just it lol, i dont know if zumba is high impact or not. Suppose i could give it a go, if it hurts or i feel worse then i just dont go back.

  • Wear good high impact footwear and bail out if its too much. I don't find zumba as high impact as jogging or badminton - I tried the latter recently as I used to play before RA and payed for it dearly in my toes!

  • Thanks Tilda

    If its hot & latin sounds good to me lol. I do love dancing and thought it would be more dance and less impact than say step aerobics and circuit training (which i wouldnt have a hope in hell of doing ever again)

    My knees are painful at the minute but exercise could well help not hinder this.

    I either give it a go or try aqua aerobics with all the old dears lol (sorry if theres any old dears out there)

    I will ask instructor next week what she thinks and if i can start off slowly and see how i feel.

    I desperately need something to get me fit and stop being a couch potatoe!



  • Interesting point was made to me by my nurse recently.

    She said not all exercise is good for RA but if doing this particular thing makes you feel good, do it! I asked because I have been playing 6 a side football since I was little and didn't want progress RA by going but didn't want to miss out.

    So Iv kept going and no ill affects so far. The nurse was saying your body releases endorphins which make you feel good and a happy body is a healthy one. So going to work can make you sore because its part of the daily grind. But happy is good for the body.

    Iv also started swimming and cycling to maintain a level I was at before diagnosis

  • Hi - I've avoided Zumba as I thought it might be too high impact and twisty turny (bad for knees) so I mainly go on walks and use my Wii Fit Plus, so I can cherry pick the routines I can do. I cant get down on the floor so some yoga doesnt suit me but a lot does. i do some of the aerobic exercises on the Wii but have been a bit wary of jogging or Zumba. I used to go jogging years ago (pre RA) and do miss it. Used to run miles (aaah those were the days!)

    I would, as suggested above, go for it, give it a try, tell the teacher about your RA and see how you feel. The general guide is that if you are in pain for too long afterwards you've done too much. I hope it works for you as everyone I know who's done it says it's great fun.

    Lynn x

  • I love exercising & the buzz it gives me. But I did an energetic yoga class before diagnosis and was urged by the instructor to put considerable pressure on my knees. Subsequently found out that I'd suffered quite a lot of irreversible damage to knees during that time. I am now more cautious although being physically cautious doesn't come naturally - used to slip on ice most winters and just bounce! Now teeter like a very old lady on slippery surfaces.

    I can't say for sure that the yoga class was responsible for what has happened to my knees - there were other factors for sure - but I'd say proceed with some caution. Give it a go though.

    Have you got access to a physiotherapist who could advise you?

    Luce x

  • Interesting article about Zumba and Arthritis from USA:


  • Tai chi is my thing. It really stretches and tones all parts of your body and mind. There are videos on the web which show it, but its best to get a good teacher. Mine is in Edinburgh, but I also know an excellent person in Oxford if that's any use.

  • im going to after try this zumba zumba :) boogie boogie :)

  • Well im going to give it a go but gently does it. Unfortunately i dont have access to physiotherapist.

    I'll let instructor know beforehand so she'll know why if im in a collapsed heap on the floor lol.

    I'll let you all know how i get on.

    Andy have a go, you can boogie boogie while doing it lol.

  • Pilates or yoga are generally recommended for arthritis - they are very low impact (so don't jar your joints), and are easy to modify so you just do what is comfortable. You do definitely want low impact exercise so you don't put additional strain on joints. Walking and swimming are also good.

  • Hi,

    Have any of you tried the Alexander Technique? Its not exactly exercise but rather a way to move with least stress on your joints - and that might be helpful. At is based on the idea that we (all) misuse our bodies by using muscles we don't need to - especially the neck and back. If you are interested, try this book: Wilfred Barlow 'The Alexander principle'. He was a medical doctor and did lots of research around the way people use themselves.


  • Hi Josie,

    Just like your Rheumatologist says, I've found that as much exercise as possible is beneficial (as long as excessive pressure is not put into the inflammed joint

    It took me years to work out that Bikram Yoga was the best possible exercise for RA. I didn't enjoy going, because I was in so much pain, but class by class I improved dramatically. Check out the following link which has lots of comments from RA sufferers about how Bikram Yoga has helped their RA tremendously:


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