Yoga is a practice of exercises, breathing techniques and meditation that started in ancient India. It has been touted as a way to boost physical and mental health for the past 5,000 years. But does yoga really work to improve physical arthritis symptoms like pain and stiffness, or psychological issues like stress and anxiety? According to health experts, the answer to the said question is a resounding YES.
Yoga is proven to help people with arthritis improve many physical and psychological symptoms. Recent scientific studies of people with various types of arthritis show that regular yoga practice can help reduce joint pain, improve joint flexibility and function and lower stress and tension to promote better sleep. Yoga comes in many different forms, but generally involves positioning the body in various poses along with coordinated breathing and meditation exercises.
Yoga is definitely one option for people with arthritis. Not only for the exercise benefits, but it’s also beneficial in the mind/body area, promoting relaxation and stress reduction.
Yoga’s Health Benefits
Most people turn to yoga as a way to exercise gently, as well as to reduce tension and improve joint flexibility. Yoga also can help a person with arthritis build muscle strength and improve balance. In addition, yoga offers people with arthritis a form of exercise that is enjoyable enough to do regularly. Stretching exercises in general help improve range of motion, so the fact that you’re stretching in yoga will help flexibility.
Some yoga poses may need to be modified for people with arthritis. Downward facing dog, for example, involves kneeling on the floor and raising your body with your arms. People with arthritis may also need to use a chair, a block, a strap or other aids to help maintain balance during some poses.
Before starting a yoga regimen, one needs to speak to his or her rheumatologist or primary-care physician to first in order to ensure that yoga is right for you. In addition, discuss what type of modifications might be appropriate for your unique condition.
Here are the other health benefits of practicing yoga:
- Increased flexibility.
- Increased muscle strength and tone.
- Improved respiration, energy and vitality.
- Maintaining a balanced metabolism.
- Weight reduction.
- Cardio and circulatory health.
- Improved athletic performance.
- Protection from injury.
Health researchers found that yoga outperformed aerobic exercise at improving balance, flexibility, strength, pain levels among seniors, menopausal symptoms, daily energy level, and social and occupation functioning, among other health parameters. Yoga does more than calm you down and make you flexible.