Low-impact exercise programme helps to decrease pain, improve mobility and enhance quality of life in older adults with arthritis and other muscle and joint conditions, finds a study.
“Joints will often stiffen if not used and muscles will weaken if not exercised. Our bodies are meant to move, and inactivity leads to weakness and stiffness, and joints with arthritis often worsen with inactivity,” said Theodore Fields, Managing Director of Rheumatology Faculty Practice Plan at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), US.
Participants performed chair and floor mat exercises using stretch bands and other gentle exercises. Chinese breathing techniques and meditation were also integrated into the programme.
A survey was distributed to 256 participants, among whom 93 per cent of participants were female, and 73 per cent were between 60 and 79 years of age before the classes started and again after they ended to evaluate pain, physical function, stiffness, fatigue, balance and other health indicators.
After completing the classes, statistically significant differences were found in pain intensity, physical function, balance, and confidence about exercising without making symptoms worse.
Participants also reported significant improvements in the ability to perform activities of daily living, such as lifting or carrying groceries; climbing stairs; bending, kneeling and stooping; and bathing and getting dressed.
“The study results are consistent with the experience of rheumatologists and with prior studies showing that exercise, even of mild degree, helps with pain. Getting people up and moving does appear to help with mood, pain and overall functioning,” Fields added.
The study was presented at the American Public Health Association annual meeting.