Christine Conti

Boost Your Resilience to Conquer RA!

If there’s one thing Christine Conti of Brick, NJ has learned, it’s that staying active and upbeat are the keys to living well with RA. Here, the athlete and fitness coach offers these strategies…


Start with the right fuel. “Good nutrition helps me control RA,” says Christine. “I eat mostly a plant-based diet. Your go-tos should be fruits and vegetables. If it has a mascot on it, don’t eat it; an orange does not have a logo!” In other words, avoid pre-packaged foods like sugary cereals, chips and cookies.

Prompt yourself to move. “Set an alarm so you’re not sitting for more than an hour. Walk around the block, go up and down the stairs — it’s about working in movement to stay flexible.”

Do functional exercise. “You don’t have to go to a studio or take a class,” notes Christine. “Focus on improving your everyday function. Can you reach for a package? That’s a lunge. Walk up the stairs? That’s like doing leg lifts. Emptying the dishwasher is a lunge with a twist.”


Focus on this: “What you can do,” says Christine. “When I got into the Ironman, people said, ‘Why would you do that?’ I’m not a swimmer, I don’t have a bike — all I knew how to do was run!” she laughs. Her solutions? “My 10-year-old son is on the swim team — and he taught me to swim! I got a used road bike and rented bike shoes. You have to start where you can and put the pieces together.”

Identify your stress relievers. “What’s your go-to when you’re stressed? Is it taking a walk, taking deep breaths, painting your nails? For me, it’s always been exercise.”

Arm yourself with a mantra. “What can you tell yourself when you think you can’t do something? For me, it’s Yes, I can! The mental aspect is so important. If you have a bad day, that’s okay. Take a break but get out there the next day. Don’t ever quit!”