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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 8:14 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2004 10:11 pm
Posts: 744
I used to be an avid mountainbiker. In an average week I would train 12 hours on the bike and 3 hours with weights. I did both xc and marathon races. But I had to quit because of Rheumatoid Arthritis. I didn't do any sports for over 5 years. About 2 years ago thanks to finding the correct medication and a change in diet, I was able to start exercising again. In an average week I now manage around 5 hours a week on the bike, 1 hour in the swimming pool and 1 hour bodyweight training.
Although my strength, endurance and all round fitness level is no where near what it used to be, I got this crazy idea to do another marathon race. Not with the ambition of getting a good result, but mainly to have fun and to see if I can reach the finishline without having to quit.
I know how to get in shape, so that's not what I'm worried about. What I do notice is that I am not as flexible anymore as I used to be. My friends used to say I looked like a monkey smoothly swinging from branch to branch in the downhill sections. I was very comfortable on the bike, very flexible and had good technical skills. But now I feel very stiff and uncomfortable. I'm not sure it's because of the Rheumatoid Arthritis that is making my joints stiff, because of the fact that I'm almost a decade older since my last marathon, because of the fact I have only ridden my mtb 3 times in the last decade, ... The thing is, if I don't regain that flexibility, I may crash and because of the Rheumatoid Arthritis I do NOT want to injury any of my joints (mainly my wrists and ankles). Five years ago I couldn't even hold a pen in my hands, let alone write with it. Now that I've finally gotten to a point where I can work and exercise with only minor discomfort I don't want to mess it up by screwing up my joints...

What would you guys recommend to regain flexibility in my joints? Any exercises, medication, diet, ... ? Tips from people with RA are very welcome! Thx in advance.

PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 10:47 pm 

Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:38 pm
Posts: 329
If you are talking overall flexibility it is likely the age and weight lifting. Regular stretching will likely work it out. Cycling is such a limited ROM exercise that usually flexibility is not a big issue once you can get into the position comfortably. Was your RA primarily restricted to joints or did you get some enthesitis as well? RA has a huge spectrum of presentation, hard to pin down what is what at times.

Make sure you get a proper bike fitting now that you are older, and have some restrictions, before getting in to heavy training.

Glad things are getting better for you with the medication, can be an absolutely debilitating disease.

I don't mean to sound negative here but if your primary concern is not getting injured, don't get on the bike. So many things out of your control, other riders, cars, gravel in the road. All riders go down sometimes. I really try to promote cycling at any chance I can and hope that you do get on and enjoy, but i think that caveat is worth mentioning.

Sometimes the lack of comfort also comes from a lack of confidence. After I cracked my pelvis in a race I found myself always just sitting off the back of the peloton, lost my sense of invulnerability and the cockiness of youth. Knew it was time to stop pinning on the numbers, not saying won't happen again but head not in the right place makes everything uncomfortable.

Depending on your steroid burden over the years, it is good that you are doing some weight lifting as well. Help build up the bone density as cycling is not great for bone density, nor are a lot of RA drugs. Depending on what you are on now you need to watch out for infection, but that is all just maintaining good health.

Good luck, enjoy.

Posted: Mon May 25, 2015 10:47 pm 

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