Time Life Medical: Arthritis

Year Released: 1996

Categories: Special Health Conditions

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The Arthritis tape is designed for sufferers of osteoarthritis--people with other forms of arthritis are advised to consult their doctor before trying the video.

The video opens with a few words from C. Everett Koop about the overwhelming benefits of moderate physical activity, then Ahmad Rashad hosts an informational segment entitled "A Better Understanding," which includes graphic depictions of joints and cartilage, how arthritis compromises both, and how exercise can improve the condition. Some common questions are answered by experts at the end of the video.

The instructors all suffer from some form of arthritis or teach arthritis sufferers. They are:

  • Warm up: Ken Alan, ACSM, ACE, AFAA. Age: fortysomething
  • Strength section:Leora Myers, RN, Fitness Consultant. Age: fiftysomething
  • Fitness in Motion:Rosemarie Naples, Instructor Trainer at Arthritis Foundation. Age: late 60's
  • Stretch, Cool Down:Joy Prouty, ACSM, ACE, AFAA. Age: fiftysomething
  • Fitness in Motion:John Shropshire, AFAA, Personal Trainer and Fitness Consultant
All the instructors are enthusiastic and pleasant. They always focus on the functional aspect of the movements and how they help maintain range of motion. They frequently compare movements in the workout to those needed for such activities as driving a car, reaching a high shelf, or turning a doorknob. I liked all of the instructors, although Mr. Shropshire's simple choreography didn't always follow the musical phrasing. He does not have this problem in the Time-Life Anxiety video I previewed, however. In any case, these moves are so simple that no one will get tripped up.

The workout itself consists of 6 parts: a 15 minute warm up, 15 minutes of strengthening exercises, 8 minutes of stretching, two 5 minute "Fitness in Motion" sections of very gentle, low impact activity, and a cool down. Exercisers are advised to do only as much of the workout as they feel comfortable doing, and not to exercise at all during acute attacks. Modifications are taught at every stage of the workout--sometimes as many as 4 different types of modifications are shown for the same exercise or stretch. Seated modifications are often shown.

The strength section is the heart of this workout, and probably the most critical to arthritis sufferers. I was very interested to see the modifications to traditional weight training exercises like ab curls, squats, and lat pulls, and the exercises specific to the arthritis sufferer, such as the hand exercises. Leora Myers teaches these moves and their variations very well.

This would be a good video to recommend to a friend or family member who suffers from osteoarthritis and has little exercise experience. It could help someone get started with an exercise program without leaving the comfort of home.