About 30% of the American population report that they experience joint pain, from small discomforts to joint swelling to arthritis – joint pain can be debilitating. However, regular movement is always recommended to keep joints healthy but this can be challenging when experiencing pain. There is no question than joint pain can deter anyone from exercising enough however, it is necessary for joints to move regularly to stay healthy.
Physical activity almost always makes joints feel better not worse. Yoga was developed about 5,000 years ago in India, touted as a great way to boost physical, mental and emotional health – regular yoga practice can help reduce joint pain, improve joint flexibility and function. Yoga is considered low impact and gentle, making it the ideal way to exercise for joint pain sufferers. It will help you keep your joints healthy, increase mobility and most importantly reduce joint pain.
Research confirms yoga’s impressive benefits and many studies have resulted in physical improvements from patients suffering from an array of joint pain conditions. Participating in yoga or practicing yoga – involves moving into a series of poses or asanas, it often includes breathing and relaxation exercises. However, there is no one single method. Yoga is actually an umbrella term that covers hundreds of variations.
Yoga poses are often modified for beginners or for those experiencing pain. Using a chair, a block, or a strap can help during difficult poses until there is increased flexibility or strength. Yoga is gentle enough to practice every single day and easily done at home but a good instructor can help guide you as to how to modify moves and avoid injuries.
• Increases blood circulation bringing oxygen to the joints
• Strengthens muscles that support and stabilize the joints
• Moves the joints through their full range of motion, increasing flexibility
• Loosens the muscles and connective tissue surrounding the bones and joints
There are many misconceptions surrounding yoga practice which isn’t surprising for an activity that has been around for thousands of years. However, we want to help someone who is looking to get started.
Myth #1 Yoga is all about twisting and bending in ways my body can’t. The truth is there are many styles of yoga, including lyengar yoga – the practice of gentle, flowing movements that allows you to use props to help balance.
Myth #2 Yoga is so gentle it doesn’t have any physical benefits. The truth is yoga is gentle and easy on the joints but studies show that practicing yoga regularly improves muscle strength and joint flexibility. There are yoga practices that involve moving quickly from pose to pose and fall under light cardiovascular exercise.
Myth #3 Yoga is gentle and there’s no possible way I can hurt myself. The truth is that if you suffer from joint pain you should avoid poses that require you to balance on one foot, or bend at your joints more than 90 degrees. The best thing is to keep away from any position that makes you hurt.
Yoga is not a cure for joint pain but it will help you manage your pain. Practicing yoga can be an empowering way to deal with pain, help you lead a more active lifestyle and boost your mood. We hope that you are encouraged to give it a try!
Disclaimer: You should always consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs.