Yoga and Pilates for Arthritis

Recent studies and articles indicate that Yoga and Pilates can help arthritis sufferers take back their lives. Yoga and Pilates for Yoga and Pilates for ArthritisArthritis is very similar to the yoga or Pilates exercises performed by those without arthritis. The elongating, strengthening, and low impact movement involved in these practices benefit people living with both Osteo Arthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Enhances Flexibility

Pilates and yoga increase flexibility and mobility making daily life easier and more enjoyable. Arthritis will start to reduce range of motion in the body if not treated, but by consistently stretching, strengthening and mobilizing your muscles and joints you can retain your mobility and significantly reduce your symptoms and pain. 

Why Pilates or Yoga?

High impact exercise and sports can often be too much for someone with arthritis and can actually cause more pain and damage, for this reason not all forms of exercise are recommended to those with arthritis. With Pilates and yoga, however, the exercises can be easily modified to put less stress on affected joints. This allows arthritis sufferers the opportunity to exercise and move on a regular basis without aggravating their symptoms. 

How Does it Work?

During Pilates and Yoga classes you will learn how to move your body in a biomechanically correct way that will lessen wear and tear, create more space in the joints and increase flexibility so you’ll feel it easier and more enjoyable to move. Pilates and yoga are very low impact forms of exercise that utilize springs, body weight and gravity to produce resistance. This allows the muscles to strengthen in a gentle and elongating way without irritating your joints. There are many modifications available, as well as different props to support your body as needed. With this gentler type of exercise you’ll be able to get the movement you crave without hurting yourself…in fact, you’ll probably feel much better after each session and certainly notice the difference with continued practice. Movement and fitness is key in reducing arthritic symptoms and incorporating Pilates and Yoga into your routine is a great way to keep moving! 

Listen to Your Body

If the exercise you are performing hurts or doesn’t feel right, inform your instructor right away.  Knowing how you’re feeling will give your instructor the opportunity to modify the exercise to suite your needs for that day. Remember that each day might feel different in your body, so open communication with your instructor is key. Over time, yoga and Pilates can help you reduce the pain and increase your quality of life. 

There are many resources that offer great services and help for those fighting Arthritis. This weekend was the Arthritis Society’s Walk to Fight Arthritis, which was a great event, there is also a great team at the Vancouver Arthritis Centre who are up to some great research and have a lot of info available. For more information on these organizations, check out their websites and talk to your doctor.