London (UK) Daily Mail—November 13, 2012
Having a waltz around the room or enjoying a yoga class can work wonders for millions of people suffering from arthritis, say researchers.
A study found hospital-based exercise programs such as Pilates, yoga or dance fitness can relieve the pain of the disease.
American scientists studied at the effectiveness of exercise programmes run by Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.
They found the weekly programmes significantly improved enjoyment of life and balance, and decreased pain and the severity and frequency of falls.
Sandra Goldsmith, director of the Public and Patient Education Department at HSS said: 'When participants were asked to report their level of pain severity, there were statistically significant reductions in pain from pre- to post-test.
'Pain is a huge factor in quality of life. If we can offer classes that help to reduce pain, that is a good thing.'
Researchers evaluated the effectiveness of the exercise programs, which included weekly classes of Tai Chi, yoga, mat and chair Pilates and dance fitness on 200 participants.
Surveys were administered before and after the exercise which included measures of self-reported pain, balance, falls and level of physical activity.
A pain intensity scale was used to quantify intensity of muscle or joint pain.
The team also measured pain interference on aspects of quality of life, including general activity, mood, walking ability, sleep, work, and enjoyment of life.
Roughly 53 per cent indicated that they experienced pain relief as a result of participating.
There was a 54 per cent improvement in general activity, mood, walking ability, sleep, normal work, and enjoyment of life.
Fewer respondents reported falling from pre- to post-test and fewer sustained injuries that required hospitalisation.
'We like to get all of our patients involved in exercise.
'Patients benefit from supervised exercise programmes with regard to their overall sense of well-being and pain due to their arthritis.'
Osteoarthritis is a leading cause of disability in the UK, affecting around 8.5million adults.
Weight has a large influence on the prevalence of arthritis with nearly 30 per cent of obese adults suffering.
The latest study was presented at the recent American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals annual meeting.
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Read additional coverage of this study at London Daily and Sunday Express and Daily Me.