Balance between rest and activity: It is important for people who have a rheumatic disease to develop a comfortable balance between rest and activity. One symptom of many rheumatic conditions is fatigue. Patients must listen to signals from their bodies. With regards pain and fatigue in arthritis there could be ‘good and bad’ days. When experiencing pain or fatigue, it is important to take a break and rest. Exercise during period of pain (flair) can be harmful to the joints. Too much rest, however, may cause muscles to become weak and joints to become stiff.
Physical exercise increases flexibility, muscle strength and endurance. It can reduce joint pain and stiffness. Losing weight reduces stress on painful joints and contributes to an improved sense of well-being. Before starting any exercise program, people with arthritis should talk with their doctor.
Myths about exercise
- ‘I don’t need any exercise because I do all my house hold work without any domestic help’.
- I do regular ‘Pranayam’ and Kapabhati.
- I go for evening walk everyday with friends.
- Yoga can not harm my joints/muscles.
- Exercise should be done in the morning only.
Well-balanced diet: Along with exercise, a well-balanced diet helps people manage their body weight and stay healthy. Diet is especially important for people who have gout. People with gout should avoid alcohol and foods that are high in purines, such as red meat.
Myths about diet
Patients with rheumatic diseases are in so much pain that they are willing to follow any dietary restrictions. Very often patients come to see a specialist after trying various alternative therapies and dietary restrictions. Their joints and muscles become weaker due to malnutrition which even makes difficult to treat their disease.
Sour foods like lemons, tomatoes and vegetables like brinjal are very important sources of essential nutrients. There is no scientific evidence that dietary restrictions are directly helpful in management of rheumatic diseases.