02/16/2012 05:18 pm ET

2 In 5 With Rheumatoid Arthritis Don't Exercise, Study Shows

About two in five adults with rheumatoid arthritis lead a sedentary lifestyle, according to a new study in the journal Arthritis Care & Research.

Recently, there has been more evidence showing shown that being moderately physically active helps people with rheumatoid arthritis with their balance, pain reduction, muscle strength and joint flexibility, a change from medical advice in the past that people with the condition rest and avoid movement.

However, the new research suggests that many people with the condition are still not exercising. The study, which included 176 people with rheumatoid arthritis, showed that 42 percent of people with the condition don't work out at a moderate to vigorous level for at least 10 minutes a day during the seven-day study period.

In addition, researchers found that 53 percent of people didn't feel strongly motivated to work out, and 49 percent of them didn't strongly believe that physical activity has benefits.

"While there is much evidence of the benefits of physical activity, RA patients are generally not physically active, and physicians often do not encourage regular physical activity in this patient population," study researcher Dr. Jungwha Lee, assistant professor in the preventive medicine department at Northwestern University, said in a statement.

Dr. Waseem Mir, a rheumatologist at the Lenox Hill Hospital, told USA Today that the stiffness, fatigue and pain that arthritis patients have may be contributing to their lack of physical activity.

"They feel really beat up," Mir told USA Today. "These patients feel wiped out day in and day out."

For advice on how to properly do strengthening and stretching exercises with rheumatoid arthritis, click through this slideshow from our partner

6 Steps to Getting Active With Arthritis


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