Arthritis is a term referring to more than 100 types of joint diseases that affect 53 million adults and 300,000 children in the U.S.
Osteoarthritis (OA), also called degenerative joint disease or "wear and tear" arthritis, is the most common chronic condition of the joints, and affects approximately 27 million Americans. OA occurs when the cartilage or cushion between joints breaks down leading to pain, stiffness and swelling.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints and other tissues. Over time, joints become loose, unstable, painful, deformed and lose their mobility. About 15 million people in the United States have RA, with nearly 3x as many women affected by the disease as men.
Some other related conditions include psoriatic arthritis, lupus, gout, fibromyalgia, ankylosing spondylitis, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and juvenile arthritis.
Individuals with arthritis need to stay active, and Pilates can provide many benefits, like better postural balance, spine stability, flexibility, strength, better breathing, and movement control. Pilates cannot repair the damage done or control arthritic "flare ups," but it can help relieve some of the debilitating effects of arthritis. Strengthening muscles around the joints helps reduce pain and decrease the risk of further damage.
As with any health condition, it is essential to seek out a well-trained fitness instructor (whether Pilates, CoreAlign, barre, TRX, or something else) with experience in orthopedic and rehabilitative exercise, and who is familiar with the exercise needs and movement modifications different types of arthritis may require.
Via Pilates for arthritis
One of the best known remedies for many types of arthritis is exercise. Proper physical activity helps in maintaining flexibility, muscle strength and bodily movements. Despite being a mild form of physical activity, Pilates offers tremendous benefits:
Emphasis on core strengthening helps develop muscles of the abdomen, hips and lower back
Enhances muscle control, spine stabilization, posture, body awareness, coordination & balance
Facilitates relaxation of muscles of the neck, shoulders and upper back
Helps rehabilitate from muscle, joint and other injuries common in arthritis & related conditions
Can be an effective tool for post-rehab exercise after joint replacement surgery
During Pilates, CoreAlign, TRX or barre workouts at Via Pilates, it is important to take things at your own pace and focus on maintaining prier form. It is best to do only a few exercises using control and correct form, then add more repetitions and different exercises as strength and endurance improves.
Via Pilates recommends that individuals with moderate to severe chronic arthritis or related conditions (JA, RA, PsA, AS, etc.) schedule one or more private sessions prior to participating in any group class.
*The information contained herein is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Clients with serious medical conditions should always consult with their healthcare practitioners before beginning any Pilates or other exercise program. Always inform your instructor of any injuries or health conditions prior to any exercise session.
Joint surgery & replacements
Via Pilates specializes in therapeutic and orthopedic exercise in a post-rehab setting. For many individuals, Pilates can be a valuable tool aid in post-operative recovery and return to an active lifestyle. It is essential, however, to pay careful attention to any limitations or contraindications associated with joint surgery and/or joint replacements.
Communication between the Pilates instructor and healthcare team is invaluable, and we will work as closely with your physician or physical therapist as desired.
Arthritis & related conditions*
Exercise is GOOD for Arthritis!
Don’t let arthritis keep you from exercising - it's never too late to start moving!
Doreen M. Stiskal, PhD, Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at New Jersey's Seton Hall University says, “Most people with arthritis don’t exercise because they’re in pain – not realizing that exercise is a powerful and effective pain reliever. It eases inflammation, improves energy and promotes the flow of feel-good, pain-relieving chemicals like endorphins.”