Athletic Performance with RA

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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 191
   Posted 8/3/2005 8:41 AM (GMT -7)   
I almost hate to ask this, since there are so many here that are still trying to get back to normalcey, but I've asked this in cycling groups with no response.
Currently I am in good chemical remission from RA on 25mg of MTX (inject) and 50mg of Enbrel. Some days I slide a little, but nothing serious.
I bike a lot, often 5 days a week, but am finding that any increase in performance is coming slowly. I have not been able to find any information on RA and/or the drugs with respect to athletic performance, and no one else to talk to about it. My rheumy has no information either.

Anybody out there have similar experiences to share or perhaps links to pertinent information?

BTW, I have found that cycling is very good for my RA. I often feel the worst when I don't get out for more than a few days. It may be the cycling, the mental adjustment, the fresh air, or simply feeling like I can have some control in my life, probably a bit of all of these. OTOH, hiking sucks and always hurts my knees and ankles.

Thanks ... Craig

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 3148
   Posted 8/3/2005 7:32 PM (GMT -7)   
hey craig!
i'm glad you are cycling! way to go!!! as far as the drugs, they will produce some increase in fatigue. it may be inevitable but i know you'll work around it! you're a wonderful inspiration. the best thing for RA is to keep moving...i agree. also, while on these meds make sure you have your blood checked regularly for anemia and low WBC counts which could put increase demands on your O2 demands and energy all in all.
the best to you!!
have you spoken with an exercise physiologist?? there are a few of them i've stumbled upon that have great experience with therapy with people with MD, RA and heart disease and the effects of the meds regarding their workout regimes.
having RA since 16 i continued strenuos workouts and in college as a dance major even more so...i did not feel "beaten by RA" until 2003 when i seriously let it go too far without help.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 191
   Posted 8/4/2005 9:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Erin,
I have not spoken to an exercise physiologist, I guess I thought my questions were too specific. I'll seek one out.
I get my blood tested regularly, as most of us do, but the only things I am sure the doc tests for is sed rate and liver indicators. I'll ask about the others you suggested.
I suggest we get the word out to other RA "victims". Even when I was in a full blown attack, I usually felt better after a little time on the stationary bike. Unfortunately in never lasted through the next day. I described it as loosening up the gel in my joints, I guess making it more fluid. My docs seemed to think it was a good approach, though cautioned me against working out too hard as to increase the wear and tear on the joints. But that was hardly likely considering how bad I felt then.

So for those of you reading this, consider a little exercise like a stationary bike. If you are having an attack, the first few minutes suck, but I found it gets better and makes me feel better the rest of the day. And as with anything else, ask your doctor first, before starting anything like this. All I can say is it made me feel a little better for the remainder of the day and sure beats prednisone's affects on the body!!!

As a biker, I always liked the slogan, "ride it like you stole it", which means fast and hard. But as an RA patient, I'm ging to try to develope a new one, perhaps "Fight it like it an enemy" ... I'm working on it ... Craig

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 1361
   Posted 8/5/2005 10:12 AM (GMT -7)   
I am riding with you in my mind. lol Ahhh
Don't walk in front of me....I may not follow
Don't walk behind me....I may not lead
Walk beside me..and be my friend...
                                    Albert Carnus
and Lord, put your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 8/5/2005 4:27 PM (GMT -7)   
HAHA I have to agree with Flopsie! I'm riding with you in spirit!! Seriously though I use to find that riding a bike helped me to maintain my muscles which in turn help your joints. I was once a very active person, I use to be in karate, part of the community gym and voluneetered along with having a fulltime job. Unfortunately I couldnt continue with my exercises because of a major flare up, the one same that I'm in now..lasting just over 6months. Most days I have trouble walking across the kitchen without my eyes watering up, but I am deteremined that one day I will ride my bike again.

I did feel better when exercise was a part of my daily routine, but remember to listen to your body and not to over do it. I'm sure I'm not hte only one to admit it, but there have many times that I ignored my joints and paid for it the next week. heehee Then I had my family for that week "see...did u listen 2 what ur body was saying?" Don't you just love it when someone says "I told u so" heehee

But to leave on a good note....Today I managed to walk down the street, about 4 houses down and made it back home again..not sure if my feet/ankles/knees or hips appreciated it now as my joints are starting to heat up and swell somewhat, but its a start!!

Keep smiling :o)
Izzie *hugs*

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 384
   Posted 8/20/2005 8:03 PM (GMT -7)   
I love to workout on the eliptical at the YMCA.It is good for RA too.I have lost 60 pounds so far since the end of Dec. Most due to diet and exercise but latley weight loss due to being so sick.I miss working out, been 2 weeks now.I know now I was over doing it and ended up having a major flare.I was so caught up in the weight loss and just the feeling of being in control of my body for once, it just became like an addiction.But I was knocked flat on my rear 2 weeks ago once again after this flare started in early June.I should have backed off then but didn't.I am on predisone right now.Still waiting on dx.'s.Go to reheumy again Wed. with the support of my orthopedic dr.It's been along hard battle these long years but I think I have finally reached the point where something will be done to help me.


Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 191
   Posted 8/22/2005 9:51 AM (GMT -7)   
But now you know you can do it, and you will again. I don't know anyone who's RA doesn't come and go, even with treatment. My attacks have become less severe, my strength and endurance have gotten better.

I feel strongly about the benefits of exercise with RA. You'll eventually figure out the right balance.

Sheila, I read you other post about prednisone. That is not a prefered long term solution, while I know that there are people who are on some small dosage for long periods of time. Predisone has been great for severe attacks, but I don't want to be on it for long. MTX and/or Enbrel/Humira/Remicade seem to be a better solution for most.

Good luck to you ... Craig
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