Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease, where one’s immune system starts attacking the body’s own tissues instead of germs and viruses, causing inflammation. Inflammation normally dies down quickly but in rheumatoid arthritis it becomes a long-term (chronic) process (Arthritisresearchuk.org, n.d.). Rheumatoid Arthritis affects about 1% of the world population, which can present at any age, and frequently affects women than men (McInnes and Schett, 2017). As a consequence of their disease, patients suffer from joint pain, restricted mobility and reduced muscle strength and endurance (Plasqui, 2008). Although, RA is present on joints of the body, it may cause adverse effects on the organs and highly influence the quality of life of a patient.
The management and medication of RA includes a variety of drug therapies such as, analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, conventional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) (Mody and Cardiel, 2008). To slow disease activity the medication includes more drugs and surgery for patients with permanent damages to joints. RA patients are more vulnerable for infections due to the immunosuppressive medication provided for the treatment of the disease (Mody and Cardiel, 2008).
Physical activity is defined by the WHO/Europe as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. Regular physical activity is proven to reduce the morbidity and the mortality of the general population, and it also has numerous disease-specific benefits in RA patients (Hurkmans et al., 2011). It is highly beneficial to engage in physical activities for RA patients to maintain their quality of life and function in their joints (Majithia and Geraci, 2007). Home monitoring is a key tool in learning the effects and treatments in such diseases (OQuigley et al., 2014).
Although, there is plenty of evidence that physical activity and exercise is beneficial for patients with RA, majority of the patients seem physically inactive. Patients and healthcare providers lack awareness on the benefits of physical activity and exercise and lack knowledge in appropriate exercise programmes for the treatment (Zanten et al., 2015). It is also said that the physical activity levels are lower than what is recommended for patients with RA (Tierney, Fraser and Kennedy, 2012), with 71% of patients not participating in regular physical activities (Sokka et al., 2007).