An article on the news today pointed to a problem that is troubling so many people that I see these days – osteoarthritis.
It’s not just my imagination. Statistics say that two million Australians currently have the disease but within 10 years that number is expected to double to four million.
We think that osteoarthritis is just what happens as we get older. We call it wear and tear, but, in actual fact, osteoarthritis is not inevitable with ageing. Painful knees, troublesome hips and degeneration of vertebrae could all be helped by losing weight.
It’s thought that if Australians reduced their weight by 5kg that about half of new osteoarthritis cases would disappear.
Isn’t that incredible? Just 5kg!
In my experience, though, the hardest area to make an impact is in weight loss. I believe this is partly to do with our denial of the fact that we are getting old. We will stubbornly hold on to our same eating habits that we had as young people, even though our lives are much more sedentary and our metabolisms much slower.
I was never overweight but I still had need for hip surgery a couple of years ago. I am happy there is the technology that will give us new hips and a new lease on life, but I don’t wish on anyone the experience of major surgery, the possibility of complications, and a long recovery/rehabilitation time.
What yoga will do for arthritis sufferers is give some relief from discomfort and help in rehabilitation. Even better, the regular yoga practitioner will develop a sensitivity to what their body needs, including a moderate and wholesome diet.