When it comes to fighting the physical and mental decline that comes with aging, several studies point to regular exercise as a helpful strategy for prolonging good health. But some older adults, like those with arthritis symptoms, might find certain types of exercise painful.
That’s where yoga comes in, according to a new study from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The study found older adults who practiced yoga three times a week found relief from arthritis pain and enjoyed a better mood and more energy.
The study looked at 75 people who were suffering from either knee osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis and split them into two groups, one that did yoga and the other that did not do yoga. All of the people involved in the study continued regular medication and were evaluated by researchers who didn’t know which group they were in.
Eight weeks later, the yoga group had a 20 percent improvement in pain level, along with more energy and improvements to their mood, when compared with the group who did no yoga. On top of that, the yoga group also benefitted from improved physical function and a small improvement in walking speed.
While this study is encouraging for the one in five adults who suffer arthritis pain, the authors of the study still recommend consulting a doctor before starting a yoga regimen. Even then, they say, you should find an experience yoga instructor who asks the right questions.