Every now and then I take Bookkid with me to the gym. There’s a lot for him to see and he loves to try out the gym equipment. I don’t take him along often, the novelty would soon wear of and when he’s with me I don’t always get a full work out. I don’t mind though, he gets to see what I do at the gym and learns that exercise is good for you. And once in a while it’s a nice change of pace for the both of us.
The gym I go to twice a week is staffed solely by physical therapists. I ended up here after I followed the RAPIT program (Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients In Training). The PT’s put an exercise program together which followed up on my RAPIT schedule. Sometimes the exercises are quite tough and I suffer regular setbacks. But in the long run, there is no denying that exercise has benefitted me greatly, and I could not have achieved this progress without the help and guidance of my physical therapist. I’m in much better shape, my joints are reasonably loose and I have become quite a bit stronger. I think exercise can benefit every RA patient.
That is why I was surprised that a fellow RA blogger claimed the opposite a few months ago. This blogger is convinced that there is a group of RA patients who are in such a bad way that exercise is impossible. Critical questions have rightly been asked about the general advice given by doctors telling patients to ‘just exercise’. A lot of readers have commented on this post, some advocating exercise others saying it is not viable. Good arguments have been made, but I can’t seem to shake the feeling that the group who do not believe in exercise seem to be looking for any argument to not exercise. It could also be a question of cultural difference. An arthritis researcher told me that Dutch rheumatologists promote exercise much more than their North American counterparts. The position in the Netherlands is formed strongly by the success of the RAPIT program, which has benefitted almost all the RA patients who followed it.
Which is why I am interested in what you, the reader thinks. Please vote on the poll.
Thank you for your time, take care of yourself and remember to keep passing the open windows.
© Ferhaan Kajee, May 2010