People with arthritis and other muscle and joint conditions can improve their quality of life by following an exercise programme, a new study shows.
Researchers at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City found that older adults experienced less pain, reduced stiffness and less fatigue after participating in exercise classes such as pilates, therapeutic yoga, yoga-lates (a combination of yoga and pilates), t´ai chi and dance on a weekly basis.
The study included 204 individuals who handed in questionnaires both before and after completing the exercise programme. Results revealed that after taking the classes at the hospital, fewer participants reported experiencing a high level of muscle/joint pain from their condition (56% before starting the programme vs. 47% after completing it).
A clear majority of 83% reported a reduction in stiffness; 82% said they felt their balance had improved; and 67% said they experienced less fatigue as a result of taking part in the programme.
There were also statistically significant reductions in how much participants´ pain interfered with their general activities, ability to walk, mood, sleep and enjoyment of life, HSS reported.
Looking at the health outcomes according to the type of exercise class participants chose, the greatest reduction in muscle/joint pain was reported by those who took t´ai chi.
“Strengthening the muscles around an arthritic joint has been shown to slow the progression of osteoarthritis and reduce pain,” explained Dr. Linda Russell at the Hospital for Special Surgery.