Got arthritis? Get moving! (Part 1)

Upper Body

You’ve all probably heard the modern saying that sitting is the new smoking. Ya gotta move! I do a lot of walking, and, of course, yoga, but the rest of the time I’m usually sitting and I can feel the effects – my low back starts screaming, my shoulders whine. It’s quite the cacophony of pain!

And if you have arthritis, it’s even more important to move. But, paradoxically, if you have arthritis, it’s often more difficult and painful to keep moving. The idea that movement can help may seem counter-intuitive when your joints are inflamed and you’re in pain.

There are a lot of reasons to get moving. Here are a few:

Movement –

  • increases circulation which can help decrease inflammation
  • improves range of motion
  • strengthens muscles
  • improves one’s feeling of well-being

A key is to move gently, in all directions, and only to the point BEFORE it becomes painful. With each repetition of a movement, you may find you can move just a little bit further. And with a regular yoga practice, flexibility and strength will improve and you may find you can move more easily and with less pain.

At the bottom of this post you’ll find some gentle yoga poses for the upper body. I’ll tackle the lower body next time.

If you have arthritis and are interested in attending a yoga-for-arthritis class, let me know! If I have enough interest, I’ll start one. In the meantime, any of my classes at WESTMED or at the Irvington Presbyterian Church would be appropriate: the classes are small and I tailor each class to whatever the participants want and need.