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Articles > Words of wisdom for rheumatoid arthritis: "Adjust your goals--and focus on what's fun!"

Words of wisdom for rheumatoid arthritis: "Adjust your goals--and focus on what's fun!"

Diana Bierman

Provided by HealthMonitor

Cathy Kramer
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

'When I was diagnosed with RA, not being able to participate in physical activities and hobbies was one of the biggest challenges for me; it left me feeling defeated. But Dr. Fulop helped me redefine my goals to make them more attainable'but still just as fulfilling! For example, instead of starting a garden like I wanted, which would require time on my knees and using my shoulders, I started a small potted herb/hot pepper garden. The potted garden required very little energy, but reaped a ton of benefits. Also, rather than going on long bike rides, I started enjoying shorter rides around the neighborhood with my kids, which still provided exercise and family connection. It's all about having a few important goals and taking small steps toward reaching those goals.'

Judy A. Fulop, ND, MS, FABNO, who practices naturopathic medicine at Northwestern Integrative Medicine, Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group, Chicago

'An RA diagnosis can be a turning point that either crushes individuals who are used to a very healthy and active lifestyle, or makes them stronger. Many times people give up because they feel they can no longer do the activity because of RA. Even though Cathy's joint pain caused her to no longer be able to participate in activities she once enjoyed, that didn't mean she had to give up the fulfillment she found within those activities. By redefining goals and looking underneath to what she gained from the activity, Cathy found the same fulfillment and boosted her endorphins (the feel-good hormones) because she was still able to participate. Staying active also improved blood flow, built muscle strength and optimized many other functions in her body'which is crucial for people with RA."
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