It’s Official: Dance Fitness IS Good for Arthritis
If you managed to catch the daily papers yesterday, you might have come across headlines confirming what arthritis organisations have known for some time – exercise does benefit people with the condition.
A new study from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York measured the effectiveness of different forms of exercise, including yoga, Pilates’ and dance fitness, and found that:
- Exercise reduced pain by a statistically significant amount
- Exercise reduced the number of subsequent falls
- Falls that did happen were less severe
- Enjoyment of life was enhanced
- Balance was improve
There are two myths that need addressing straight away:
1.Arthritis is something the elderly get
Wrong. Although most people with arthritis are elderly, the disease can affect young people too. There are even about 20 000 children afflicted with the condition.
2. Exercise makes arthritis worse
Wrong. Even before the recent findings, arthritis organisations have been trying to dispel this myth. For example, the Arthritis Foundation says:
‘Regular, moderate exercise offers a whole host of benefits to people with arthritis.’
Some of the benefits include:
- Decreased joint pain and stiffness
- Stronger joint-supporting muscles
- More flexibility
- More endurance
- Less inflammation
- Less risk of developing related chronic conditions
Prevention Beats a Cure
One of the risk factors of developing arthritis is our old foe obesity, with 30 per cent of obese people living with the painful condition. By getting on top of your weight early in your life, you reduce the risk of arthritis (not to mention heart disease, osteoporosis, Type 2 diabetes, etc.)
In at the Shallow End
If you currently suffer from arthritis and would like to start a dance fitness program, you should see your GP first. Exercise can initially increase pain, and your GP might suggest starting off with some form of water-based workout to take the stress off your joints until your pain is more manageable.
If your doctor gives the go ahead to start dance fitness classes, take note of all the advice you are given and be sure to inform your dance instructor so they can make sure you are exercising safely. It will be particularly important for you to warm-up before working out; the Street Fit® Workout includes a warm-up session in every class, but it is also important to warm-up before exercising at home.
Prevention is better than the Cure – Don’t leave it till it’s too late!