Yoga for Arthritis

Arthritis restricts movement, making exercise very difficult and sometimes extremely painful for many people. We do know, however, that exercise is crucial for not only increasing strength and mobility, but also preventing future episodes of pain. So how does someone with moderate-to-severe arthritis exercise without causing more inflammation and pain? One answer is yogalates, which is a combination of low-impact body-weight strength training exercises, core exercises, and stability/balance exercises.

Woman stretching at gym.

Yogalates is exactly what it sounds like: yoga’s principle of strength training, spirituality and flexibility combined with Pilates, which focuses on developing the deep abdominal and core muscles. What makes yogalates so perfect for arthritis sufferers is the low-impact, controlled non-ballistic nature, which is a must for arthritis sufferers to safely and effectively exercise without causing inflammation.

Here are my top three picks for yogalates exercises that help to safely strengthen the upper body, lower body, and core.


1. Plank T-twist



    • Assume the push-up position where you are up on your toes with your hands directly under your shoulders, keeping your back perfectly flat.


  • Then while keeping your core sucked in and tight, and your arms perfectly straight throughout the entire exercise, you’re going to slowly twist your body up until your arms are directly in line with each other.



  • You’ll want to hold this position for 5-10 seconds, then slowly return back down into the starting push-up position, making sure to alternate sides after completing each repetition.



  • An easier variation of this exercise is to start in basic plank position with your forearms on the floor, instead of full push-up position, and then perform the exercise exactly the same, but while keeping your arms bent at a 90 degree angle.





2. Twisting Lunges



    • To perform twisting lunges, you’re going to start in athletic stance with your feet shoulder to hip width apart, your chest up and shoulder blades back.


  • While maintaining good posture, take a nice big step forward and lunge straight down by bending at your front knee as far as you can comfortably go, but stopping before your back knee touches the ground.



  • As you’re lunging, twist your body at your hips with your arms straight out in front of you to engage your core, while also improving balance.



  • Once you’re in the lunging position, repeat this and make sure to alternate the twists on each side.





3. Flutter Kicks



    • To perform flutter kicks, you’re going to start off lying flat on the floor with your legs straight out.


  • Then lift your legs about a foot off the ground, doing very slow and controlled 6 inch pulses up and down with each leg in opposite directions.



  • It’s important to make sure while performing this exercise to keep your back as flush against the floor as possible, your knees locked straight squeezing the quadriceps, and your core sucked in tight and engaged throughout the entire exercise.





You can exercise pain free by doing yogalates routines that are easy on the joints, but hard on the muscles! Be sure to check back soon for more yoga for arthritis tips.

Have a question or comment regarding this article? You can email your fitness and nutrition questions to [email protected], or post your comments on the Flexcin blog. Good luck with your future health!

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