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Dancing with Arthritis

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Dancing is more than just a beautiful, dramatic art with universal appeal – it’s an excellent form of exercise too! Dance has many benefits as it helps people to staying active in an engaging mind/body way – and this is especially beneficial for people with arthritis.

Researchers at Laval University in Quebec followed people with rheumatoid arthritis who participated in dance-based exercise. They found improvement in mobility and joint pain, as well as positive changes in depression, anxiety, fatigue and tension.

According to Arthritis Today, “Zumba is just one of the many specialized fitness dance programs gaining new followers, thanks in part to the exposure of exotic dance styles on television shows … Bollywood, hip hop, belly dancing and even pole dancing, can help increase coordination, balance and cardiovascular levels, as long as they’re done with some modifications for people with arthritis.”

Other options for people with Arthritis include:

Belly dancing: Inspired by dance styles from places such as Egypt, Morocco and Turkey, this slow, rhythmic dance is great for people with arthritis because the movements are slow and isolated and done with both feet flat on the floor. With actions such as hip circles and shoulder shimmies, belly dancing can help increase range of motion.

Hip hop: The music and the movements of this street-based dance are very upbeat and lively with high-intensity, high-impact steps where dancers quickly transfer their weight from one foot to another. With arthritis, you need to avoid those rapid movements, stepping instead of jumping and keeping both feet on the floor.

Bollywood: This involves bouncing and side-to-side movements. Like hip hop, it can also be high impact with leaps as dancers keep pace with the fast-tempo music. The key for people with arthritis is to step instead of jump, keeping movements low-impact.

Always consult your physician or physical therapist before trying one of these dance styles. She may be able to recommend one type of exercise over another.

General tips to keep in mind:

• When you sign up for a dance class, tell the Instructor about any issues or limitations so she can provide modifications.
• Start slowly – don’t jump into any exercise full-throttle or you might hurt yourself.
• Slow down the pace – do the dance moves in half time.
• Avoid repetitive movements – to prevent injury and straining joints.

About Arthritis Center

This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.

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This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.

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