Osteoarthritis (OA), a leading cause of pain and disability currently affecting 57 million people in the United States, is a challenging public healh concern. The incidence of OA is increasing, particularly among elders;it is estimated that 70% of people over 70 years of age have OA and its associated symptoms. Consequences of OA are significant for older adults (physical limitations, depression, and isolation) and substantiall increase health care costs. Pharmacological treatments are often used to reduce OA pain;however, these alone may not be sufficient for this purpose. Moreover, older adults are at high risk for adverse events associated with medications. It is essential to identify safe, effective, ad cost-saving complementary treatments to assist in the reduction of pain and improvement of physical and psychosocial function in older adults with OA. Movement therapies, exercise, and yoga have demonstrated effectiveness in reducing the pain of OA, improving physical function, reducing depression, and improving life satisfaction. However, many elders cannot participate in regular exercise programs or standing yoga because they feel insecure due to pain, weakness, or fear of falling caused by decreased balance. Sit 'N'Fit Chair Yoga is a gentle form of yoga practiced while seated in a chair. It is a safe and secure program of stretching, muscle strengthening, breathing, and relaxation. Almost no research has been conducted on chair yoga used to manage OA. Pilot data for the Sit 'N'Fit Chair Yoga program show that it is a feasible and possibly effective intervention for managing the problems associated with OA. This project will create an evidence base for the effectiveness of chair yoga for older adults with OA who are unable to participate in standing yoga or other exercise. Effects of the eight-week program on OA pain, physical function, balance, depression, and life satisfaction will be measured by comparing results of the Sit 'N'Fit Chair Yoga (yoga) program (45 minutes, twice weekly, eight weeks) to results from an attention control group (Health Education Program [HEP] 45 minutes, twice weekly, eight weeks). A sample of 120 participants age 65 years or older with OA will be recruited from two sites in Broward County, Florida. Participants will be randomly assigned to either yoga) or HEP. The two groups will be compared prior to intervention, after four weeks, after eight weeks, and at one and three months after intervention. If Sit 'N'Fit Chair Yoga decreases OA pain and improves physical function and psychosocial well-being, the costs of OA at individual and system levels could be reduced. This is the first attempt to collect evidence documenting the potential of Sit 'N'Fit Chair Yoga to affect health outcomes in elders with OA. By engaging researchers and students from nursing and social work, this R15 application will also build a foundation for multidisciplinary collaboration that can contribute to the research capacity of both Colleges.

Public Health Relevance

Exercise is an effective therapy to decrease osteoarthritis pain and improve physical function. However, some older adults may not be able to participate in strenuous exercise or regular standing yoga due to pain, balance problems, and other disabilities. Chair yoga is a gentle exercise that provides stability and safety for these older adults, but there is no empirical evidence on the effect of chair yoga in managing osteoarthritis pain. This study will provide an evidence base to support the effectiveness of chair yoga to decrease osteoarthritis pain and the depression associated with pain, as well as to improve balance, physical function, and life satisfaction.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Academic Research Enhancement Awards (AREA) (R15)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAT1-PK (25))
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Khalsa, Partap Singh
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Florida Atlantic University
Schools of Nursing
Boca Raton
United States
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