Remote classes like yoga, Pilates, and tai chi are beneficial for people with musculoskeletal problems such as osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and osteoporosis, according to research presented at the 2021 American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting.
After attending low-intensity 60-minute fitness classes for an average of six weeks, participants improved physically and became more socially active, researchers at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City said.
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6-week remote program improving mobility, pain, stiffness and other symptoms
Of the 355 people evaluated (out of a total of 6,779 participants), 161 reported a musculoskeletal condition. Musculoskeletal conditions that affect joints, bones, or muscles, affect inflammatory arthritis and other chronic conditions associated with pain, functional limitations, and disability.
Most of the participants were female, over 60 years of age, and were white. That group reported that with any level of participation in each six-week virtual exercise session, they achieved:
- 5% reported a reduction in pain overall
- 5% reduction in joint stiffness
- 7% reduction in pain while walking
- 8 percent reduction in fatigue
Those who said they attended twice a week or more for six weeks reported greater improvement:
- 11% reduction in pain intensity
- 12% decrease in hardness
- 9% decrease in fatigue and reduced pain involvement in all aspects of daily life, including general activity levels, mood, ability to walk, normal functioning, relationships with others, sleep, and general enjoyment of life
Live broadcast exercise classes versus on-demand online lessons
Remote live exercise programs offer an interactive, two-way experience: participants connect to a video conference or remote meeting using a computer, smartphone, or tablet, usually from their homes. During the class, people may have the opportunity to talk to others and get personal feedback from the instructor, who can see and hear it through the device’s camera and microphone.
HSS offered a live remote classroom that had to be attended at a specific time but provided direct interaction with the teacher and other students. Unlike pre-recorded online classes (often free) that allow you to participate whenever you want, live classes allow for interaction and professional supervision. Online or on-demand fitness classes are similar to “one-way” classes offered via videotape or DVD.
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Low-impact virtual programs provide social networking and support too
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), loneliness affects more than a third of adults age 45 and older and nearly a quarter of adults age 65 or older. (Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic has made human contact considerably more difficult.) There are many health risks associated with social isolation, including dementia, mental health problems, and premature death.
A study published in June 2017 in Quality in old age and the elderly Found a strong relationship between social isolation and loneliness and chronic musculoskeletal disease. To work on this, the HSS research team has built a social component into their exercise programs. “We made sure our classrooms were structured to maximize interaction with others. We encouraged dialogue before class began so that people could talk and connect with each other. They said it helped with HSS results and data analytics,” said Titilayo Olugobo, director of results and data analytics at HSS and author of the new study. strengthening social ties.
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Flexibility and comfort and other factors have made fitness classes doable
The team did not collect data comparing virtual classes with in-person classes, but the feedback they received was that people enjoyed the virtual program because of the time flexibility and ease of exercise at home. Other barriers to exercise that are known to challenge people with arthritis and other conditions include physical accessibility, travel conditions, and pain from movement. Posted in Journal of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation It was found that people with osteoporosis faced the following obstacles to exercising regularly in personal classrooms.
- weather Many people with arthritis are sensitive to cold and moisture, and don’t feel healthy enough to exercise on cold days or feel safe enough to go outside on icy, humid days.
- Easy access to exercise facilities Physical space, classrooms, or accessibility may not be user friendly for people with arthritis challenges. Stairs, for example, can be a deal-breaker.
- communications Some people with arthritis have difficulty driving and rely on other people to ride because there is no other means of transportation.
- cost A gym membership can be expensive. However, the default software is either free or at least affordable.
- Selfie People may feel uncomfortable in the gym due to poor body confidence. They may feel embarrassed about their appearance or their skill level. A virtual class allows them to control how much they want to reveal themselves.
Where to find low-impact remote fitness classes
Ologhobo emphasizes that you should not start any new exercise regimen before consulting with your healthcare provider. Your doctor can help you evaluate whether a particular program is appropriate for your level of fitness and health. If you have moderate or severe illness, you may want to see a physical therapist who can assess the safety and effectiveness of a particular program for you and suggest specific resources. Here are some virtual websites that offer a nice workout. Consider a trial tier or trial membership before making a financial commitment. If none of these work for you, ask your health care provider or physical therapist for suggestions.
Rheumatologists and other doctors, pay attention
The takeaway for rheumatologists and others who care for people with painful musculoskeletal conditions seems to be to encourage participation in these types of classes. “Amid the uncertainties caused by the pandemic, the shift to virtual programming has consistently provided older people with musculoskeletal conditions with access to effective community programs and reduced the negative impact of isolation. Implementation of online virtual exercise programs can be successful when assessing the needs of your target audience, and considering In potential barriers to program participation, and design virtual programs to meet patients’ specific needs.
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