One in five adults are affected by arthritis, which adds up to over 50 million people across the United States. While the condition causes varying degrees of discomfort – ranging from minor annoyance to debilitating pain – it is in fact the leading cause of disability in the country, with over 20 million people claiming it limits their physical activity. So if you happen to suffer from arthritis, the results of a recent study may have some good news for you. It reveals that yoga can help alleviate some of your symptoms. Here’s the scoop.
Although there is no known cure for arthritis, there are ways to manage it. It is widely accepted that physical activity is one way to alleviate some of the pain. In fact, even the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that 75-150 minutes of aerobic activity each week can reduce arthritis symptoms. It therefore makes sense that yoga also helps. While not all yoga counts as aerobic exercise, it does get your body moving, which can only help in the struggle against arthritis.
Conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine and later published in the Journal of Rheumatology, the study took place over eight weeks and consisted of 75 adults who suffered from either knee or rheumatoid arthritis. They participated in three yoga sessions a week: two one-hour long classes, and a session at home.
It’s worth noting that the researchers were quite cautious with the patients who participated. Because yoga could potentially have a negative impact on their arthritic joints, the researchers were careful to incorporate poses tailored to each individual’s needs.
At the conclusion of the study, participants reported a 20% improvement in a range of categories including pain, mood, energy levels, and the ability to perform daily tasks and activities. What’s more, nine months after the study, the participants reported these improvements hadn’t lessened in any way.
So what do the researchers of the study have to say about the results? Co-author Susan J. Bartlett says: “Yoga may be especially well suited to people with arthritis because it combines physical activity with potent stress management and relaxation techniques, and focuses on respecting limitations that can change from day to day.”
Because yoga can be a gentle way to incorporate physical exercise into your day, it may be a perfect match for those with arthritis. So if you suffer from this condition and are looking to give yoga a try, start slowly with a gentle yoga class first. Listen to your body and only push yourself further when you’re ready for more of a challenge. For recommendations specific to your needs, get in touch with us today.