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The benefits of online yoga for those with osteoarthritis of the knee

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A new study shows that participating in online yoga can improve mobility, quality of life, and joint stiffness for individuals with osteoarthritis of the knee.

Published today in Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers from the University of Melbourne conducted a randomized clinical trial with 212 adults with osteoarthritis of the knee to determine whether an unsupervised 12-week online yoga program could provide more health benefits than online education. Internet alone.

Researchers worked with yoga therapists, physical therapists, and people who have lived experience with osteoarthritis to design an online yoga program designed specifically for those with osteoarthritis of the knee.

Upon completion of the 12-week yoga program, the participants reported greater improvement in physical function, but not knee pain, compared to the online-only educated control group.

While these improvements were modest, 60 percent of the yoga participants reported an improvement in function of an amount considered clinically significant, compared to 44 percent of the control group.

Participants completed about two-thirds of the recommended number of yoga sessions during the 12 weeks, but this decreased once the program became optional. As a result, the benefits did not last into week 24.

This research highlights the benefits of free online yoga and reinforces the importance of consistent exercise, said lead researcher, University of Melbourne professor Kim Pinnell.

Professor Pinnell said: “Osteoarthritis is very common, it affects one in five people over 45 in Australia and often involves the knee joint.”

“Exercise is the primary therapy, but a lot of people will admit to not exercising.

“Our study demonstrated the benefit of a free online yoga program that allowed people with arthritis from across Australia to exercise from the comfort of their home and at their convenience. However, we noticed that motivation waned once the 12-week program was completed and exercises became optional.”

Gwen, 71, who took part in the study, said the online aspect and the ability to go ahead at her own pace made it a really positive experience.

“I am so happy I was selected to participate, and the results have been amazing,” Gwen said.

“The first few lessons were very painful, but I was allowed to progress at my own pace, which was very helpful. By the end of the study, I was able to complete all the exercises at a comfortable level with little changes that suited me.

“The best part is that I have gone from using the disabled toilet to moving around freely, gardening again and walking without pain. It is the best thing I have done for myself and I highly recommend this exercise program.”

The researchers say that while the results are promising, more research is needed to fully determine the effects of unsupervised online yoga and enhance the benefits of the treatment.

“This free home yoga program could be a scalable option to improve patient access to exercise, which is a recommended primary treatment for osteoarthritis,” said Professor Bennell.

“By removing barriers such as cost and travel to attend personal yoga classes, we hope to improve access to exercise programs and help more people.”

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