When it comes to destressing, an increasing number of people prefer yoga, but a new study published in the Journal of Rheumatology showed that doing yoga three times a week can also improve mood and be beneficial for people who suffer from arthritis.

Researchers based their data on 75 sedentary adults with symptoms of knee osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. The subjects were asked to go through 8 weeks of hatha yoga, but researchers made sure beforehand that yoga was a safe practice among people with arthritis.

In order to see if there were any benefits, the team separated the participants in different groups: one of them did one-hour yoga classes three times per week, another one followed home-based sessions, and the third one was used as control group.

Co-author Dr. Clifton Bingham at the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center talked in a media release about the measures taken, explaining that the instructors made sure that yoga was a safe option for all the people in the study. Not only were they experienced yoga therapists, but they had also undergone additional training for adapting yoga poses for individual abilities.

Researchers concluded that subjects who practiced yoga on a regular basis felt 20 percent less pain, have improved moods and higher energy levels. Moreover, their physical function had also improved with 20 percent, meaning they found it easier to perform daily tasks at home or at work. According to the yoga practitioners, improvements were still visible 9 months later.

Co-author Susan Bartlett of McGill University and Johns Hopkins said that yoga has become prevalent as a complementary therapy, with one in 10 people in the United States practicing yoga for its health and fitness benefits.

When it comes to people with arthritis, yoga is especially well-suited because it respects the body’s limitations while combining stress management with physical activity and relaxation methods. All this is good news for the 52 million Americans that are currently living with arthritis.

While physical activity is considered the most efficient way of easing its symptoms, arthritis has no cure. Therapeutic recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include 75 minutes of intense aerobic exercise each week or 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise.

This painful condition is characterized by inflammation of the joints, along with pain and swelling, stiffness and a reduced range of movement in the parts of the body that are affected.
Image Source: Shoreline Orthopaedics