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Yoga Improves Arthritis Symptoms

Posted on July 6, 2016, 6 a.m. in Alternative Medicine Arthritis Mental Health

Not only may yoga help to keep arthritic adults moving, it may also improve mood and energy levels.

A leading cause of disability, arthritis affects 1 in 5 adults – many of whom are younger than age 65.  Left unmanaged, arthritis compromises mobility, and can cause declines in quality of life. Susan J. Bartlett, from Johns Hopkins University (Maryland, USA), and colleagues completed a study in which 75 sedentary men and women, ages 18 years and older, with either knee osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, were randomly assigned to either a wait list or eight weeks of twice-weekly yoga classes, plus a weekly practice session at home.  Compared with the control group, those doing yoga reported a 20% improvement in pain, energy levels, mood and physical function, including their ability to complete physical tasks at work and home. Walking speed also improved to a smaller extent, though there was little difference between the groups in tests of balance and upper body strength. Improvements in those who completed yoga was still apparent nine months later.  The researchers report that: “Preliminary evidence suggests yoga may help sedentary individuals with arthritis safely increase physical activity, and improve physical and psychological health and [health-related quality of life].”

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Moonaz SH, Bingham CO 3rd, Wissow L, Bartlett SJ. “Yoga in Sedentary Adults with Arthritis: Effects of a Randomized Controlled Pragmatic Trial.” J Rheumatol. 2015 Jul;42(7):1194-202.

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