Feeling and living better with arthritis

If you are one of the 20 to 40 million Americans suffering from osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, you may wonder what you can do to alleviate the pain.

If you are one of the 20 to 40 million Americans suffering from osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, you may wonder what you can do to alleviate the pain.

by Jennifer Schaecher — 

If you are one of the 20 to 40 million Americans suffering from osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, you may wonder what you can do to alleviate the pain. Have you tried exercise?

Numerous medical studies demonstrate that exercise improves — even relieves — arthritis pain. People who choose not to exercise at all will become weaker, as the pain intensifies, because weak muscles cannot efficiently support joints, which results in more pain. Stronger muscles act as a substitute shock absorber. Exercise also allows more fluid to enter the cartilage, delivering more oxygen and nutrients.

In order to be consistent about it, you must find an enjoyable exercise. Yoga is particularly beneficial due to its slow, gentle movements and focus on consciousness. These techniques improve flexibility, strength, proper breathing and relaxation. Hospitals around the country now integrate yoga into programs that treat chronic pain and stress-related medical disorders, as well as those focusing on the prevention/reversal of heart disease.

Yoga can be modified to suit the needs and pace of almost anyone. Take a class before making a judgment. Shop around for an instructor who makes you feel at ease. If yoga is not the answer for you, find something that feels right. Other options include water aerobics and t’ai chi. Just find something that keeps you moving — and do it!

 

Jennifer Schaecher, a certified yoga and Pilates instructor, is owner of Peaceful Planet Pilates & Yoga. She offers private training in homes or offices and specializes in 50+ beginners. 623-341-6935 or peacefulplanetpilates@cox.net.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 24, Number 3, June/July 2005.

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