Managing knee osteoarthritis with yoga or aerobic/strengthening exercise programs in older adults: a pilot randomized controlled trial

Corjena Cheung, Jean F. Wyman, Ulf Bronas, Teresa McCarthy, Kyle Rudser, Michelle A. Mathiason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Although exercise is often recommended for managing osteoarthritis (OA), limited evidence-based exercise options are available for older adults with OA. This study compared the effects of Hatha yoga (HY) and aerobic/strengthening exercises (ASE) on knee OA. Randomized controlled trial with three arms design was used: HY, ASE, and education control. Both HY and ASE groups involved 8 weekly 45-min group classes with 2–4 days/week home practice sessions. Control group received OA education brochures and weekly phone calls from study staff. Standardized instruments were used to measure OA symptoms, physical function, mood, spiritual health, fear of falling, and quality of life at baseline, 4 and 8 weeks. HY/ASE adherences were assessed weekly using class attendance records and home practice video recordings. Primary analysis of the difference in the change from baseline was based on intent-to-treat and adjusted for baseline values. Eight-three adults with symptomatic knee OA completed the study (84% female; mean age 71.6 ± 8.0 years; mean BMI 29.0 ± 7.0 kg/m2). Retention rate was 82%. Compared to the ASE group at 8 weeks, participants in the HY group had a significant improvement from baseline in perception of OA symptoms (−9.6 [95% CI −15.3, −4]; p = .001), anxiety (−1.4 [95% CI −2.7, −0]; p = .04), and fear of falling (−4.6 [−7.5, −1.7]; p = .002). There were no differences in class/home practice adherence between HY and ASE. Three non-serious adverse events were reported from the ASE group. Both HY and ASE improved symptoms and function but HY may have superior benefits for older adults with knee OA. Trial registration The full trial protocol is available at (NCT02525341).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-398
Number of pages10
JournalRheumatology International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the University of Iowa Hartford Center Geriatric Nursing Excellent Pilot Grant, and Deborah E. Powell Center of Mature Women’s Health and Research Grants. It is also supported in part by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences Award UL1TR000114. The study sponsors played no role in study design, methods, participant recruitment, data collection, data analysis or development of this manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Aerobic and strengthening exercises
  • Hatha yoga
  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Older adults


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