4 Lifestyle Tips for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Living Well with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Can small lifestyle changes help you manage your rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms? This article shows you 4 simple lifestyle tips that put you in charge of your rheumatoid arthritis.

In-depth Articles on Other Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatments

The tips below will help you deal with chronic joint pain and fatigue—common RA symptoms.

  1. Don't skimp on sleep. Sleep is not a luxury—it's essential to your physical and mental well-being. When you sleep, your body is hard at work regenerating and repairing itself. But sleep can be hard to come by when you have RA.

    To get you into a healthy sleep rhythm, establish a sleep schedule: Every day, go to bed and wake up at the same time. Aim to sleep 8 hours every night. If you have trouble winding down, take a warm bath, do some deep breathing, or meditate to signal your body to calm down.

    You can also talk to your doctor about other ways to help you sleep: You may need a sleeping medication to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

  2. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Basing your diet on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, is important, but is it enough? In addition to eating these healthy foods, try adding foods that contain omega-3s, such as salmon and olive oil. These foods have an anti-inflammatory effect-eating them can lower overall inflammation levels in your body.

    Also, try to limit highly processed foods and fast foods since these foods can aggravate rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. For more information on the anti-inflammatory diet for RA, check out our rheumatoid arthritis diet article.

  3. Learn how to manage your stress. Stress can exacerbate RA symptoms, so that's why you need to find ways that work to manage it. There are numerous stress management techniques. Some common ones are deep breathing and meditation.

    Dedicate some time every day to do something you really enjoy: It could be painting or writing in a journal. Just do whatever it takes to relieve your stress in a healthy way.

  4. Make room for moderate exercise. Regular, low-impact exercise is the golden ticket when it comes to living well with rheumatoid arthritis. Exercising with rheumatoid arthritis can significantly relieve RA symptoms. It also boosts your energy, releases endorphins (those feel-good hormones), strengthens muscles and joints, and increases your range of motion.

    Incorporate a combination of the 3 types of exercise—aerobic, strengthening, and flexibility—into your exercise routine. Remember to listen to your body, and respect what it's telling you. You don't need to work out for hours every day—just do what you can.

These 4 rheumatoid arthritis lifestyle tips are simple things you can do to help you manage RA. Incorporating them into your lifestyle will help you to not only live well—but thrive—with rheumatoid arthritis.

Updated on: 11/19/15