Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease. It is characterized by inflammation of the membranes lining the joints.

Instead of the immune system protecting the body, it attacks itself. In RA, the immune system attacks the lining of the joints, called the synovium. RA is a long-term disease that leads to inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues and can also affect other organs. These tissues include tendon sheaths, bursa, and tendons.

Signs and Symptoms of RA:


Exercise with RA:

ACSM guidelines for training:


Resistance exercise programs





Supporting articles

  1. Cooney, J. K., Law, R.-J., Matschke, V., Lemmey, A. B., Moore, J. P., Ahmad, Y., … Thom, J. M. (2011). Benefits of Exercise in Rheumatoid Arthritis. Journal of Aging Research, 2011, 681640. http://doi.org/10.4061/2011/681640
  2. Metsio, G.S., Stavropoulos-Kalinoglou, A., Veldhuijzen van Zanten, J.J., Treharne, G.J., Panoulas, V.F., Douglas, K.M., Koutedakis, Y., & Kitas, G.D. (2008). Rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease and physical exercise: a systematic review. Rheumatology (Oxford) 47(3):239-48. 
  3. Peterson, M. D., Rhea, M. R., Sen, A., & Gordon, P. M. (2010). Resistance Exercise for Muscular Strength in Older Adults: A Meta-Analysis. Ageing Research Reviews, 9(3), 226–237. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.arr.2010.03.004
  4. de Jong, Z., Munneke, M., Zwindermann, A.H., Kroon, H.M., Jansen, A., Ronday, K.H., van schaardenburg, D., Dijkmans, B.A., Van Den Ende, C.H., Breedveld, F.C., Vliet Vlieland, T.P., & Haze, J.M (2003) Is a long-term high intensity exercise program effeective and safe in patients with rheumatoid arthritis? Results of a randomized controlled trial. Arthritis Rheumatology 48(9):2415-24.