There are two things I’ve learned since moving into my new home.
1. I had no problem meeting my step goal from Miss Courtney Crozier’s summer challenge since I now have 3 sets of stairs to go up and down all day.
2. The creaking noise I’m hearing is not from my stairs, it’s from my knees.
I’m not sure what caused it: whether it’s my years of sports playing goalie and catcher in high school or rugby in college. It could be the stress on my body from the extra 120 pounds of weight that I had less than a year ago. Maybe I’m just getting, dare I say it, … getting old??
The good news is I’m not in pain…yet. However, this could be the warning signs of something greater and as a health care professional I should not be ignoring things. I am considering taking some supplements to help lubricate my joints like I’m the tin man in the Wizard of Oz.
Yoga has many long lasting health benefits when practiced on a regular basis. It is proven to lower blood pressure, increase flexibility, strengthen muscles and improve cardiovascular health. As we get older, it is important to continue an exercise program that is appropriate for our bodies. Most styles of yoga are gentle enough to practice through a lifetime, however there are a few considerations we must honor to avoid unnecessary strain or discomfort.
A proper warm up makes a tremendous difference in the way we carry our bodies in yoga. A loose and limber spine is paramount for getting into and out of poses with ease. Simple flexion and extension movements of the spine increase its fluidity by lubricating the spaces between each vertebra, allowing the adjacent muscles to release stiffness. Spinal mobility is a key component for a fit and healthy body, especially as we age.
Arthritis is a condition defined by inflammation in one or more joints, coupled with stiffness, soreness and a limited range of motion. According to the Center for Disease Control, arthritis affects nearly 50 million Americans, and that amount is expected to rise. There are over 100 types of arthritis and the causes include but are not limited to obesity, lack of exercise, improper auto immune response, and the overuse of a misaligned joint.
However the painful condition has come about, the treatment and management of it is very important. Doctors recommend that arthritis sufferers get some moderate exercise and eat right to maintain a healthy weight.
Yoga, because it is a non-impact activity, is a very beneficial way to get some moderate exercise. Yoga poses strengthen the muscles surrounding the joints in a gentle way so the rate of progression of arthritis is slowed and moving becomes less painful. As a result, the symptoms of soreness and stiffness are more properly managed.
Read on to learn about a few basic guidelines to adhere to when practicing yoga with arthritis. Always remember to check with your doctor before embarking on a new type of exercise. In addition, speak with your instructor to learn about modifications you might find useful.