An article on the news today pointed to a problem that is troubling so many people in society these days – osteoarthritis.
It’s not just my imagination. Statistics say that two million Australians currently have the disease. However, 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 5 kg that about half of new osteoarthritis cases would disappear. Isn’t that an incredible statistic? Just 5kg!
In my experience, though, one of the hardest spheres to make in which to make a difference is weight loss. I believe this is partly to do with our denial of the fact that we are getting older. We will stubbornly hold on to our same eating habits. These are the ones we had as young people, even when our current 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 anyone to have to undergo the experience of major surgery, the possibility of complications, and a long recovery/rehabilitation time.
What can yoga do for arthritis sufferers? It can give some relief from discomfort, tools for de-stressing and improved posture and alignment. Post-surgery yoga will prove invaluable for rehabilitation.
Even in the area of diet and weight loss, a regular yoga practitioner will develop a sensitivity to what the body needs, including moderate and wholesome eating habits.