Those who suffer from arthritis will often hear that exercise is one of the best ways to improve their condition without relying on surgery or physiotherapy. Exercise is something that can be self-directed and doesn’t require constant medical supervision. That said, because arthritis is caused by inflammation of the joints, many dry land exercises create an impact that can actually cause the pain to become worse. For this reason, many sufferers of arthritis turn to exercises done underwater. Is pool exercise good for arthritis? In this article, we’ll go over ways you can use a swimming pool or swim spa to relieve the symptoms of an arthritic condition.
Why Water Is an Ideal Place for Exercise
Many of the properties that are unique to water make it a great place of exercise for those who suffer from joint pain typified by arthritis. Water provides buoyancy to the body which reduces the weight experienced by the joints, bones, and muscles. This reduces the impact of exercises which may be quite painful to perform on dry land. Movements that may be impossible to complete under the full weight of the body become much easier to do underwater.
Water also creates a resistance that’s useful for muscle building without the need for weights. The harder you push against the water the harder the water pushes back which will automatically tailor the force to your personal abilities. Water resistance is also good for providing stability. For those who have a poor sense of balance or are prone to falling down, water is an excellent safety tool while exercising.
The adjustable temperature of the water also allows it to be used to mitigate pain. Different water temperatures can be used for purposes such as reduction of swelling, improvement of range of motion, soothing of sore joints and more. The correct temperature of the water will depend on what you’re trying to achieve.
Swimming is probably the most common water-based activity. Swimming is good for working out several different muscle groups at the same time, burning calories and improving posture and flexibility. Specific swimming strokes can be used to work specific joint or muscle groups, so if your arthritic pain is localized, there may be an ideal swimming stroke for your condition.
Doing aerobic exercises on dry land is a great way to burn calories and control your body weight. But for those who suffer from arthritis, dry land aerobics may be too much of a high impact exercise to perform comfortably. However, transferring aerobic workouts to the swimming pool or swim spa can allow you to raise your heart rate without creating pain for your joints and bones. Water aerobics classes have diversified greatly over the years, so it should be easy to find a class that works well with the fitness level you’re currently at.
Water Walking and Jogging
Jogging and walking are two of the most popular exercises for people of all ages. But for those who suffer from joint pain and inflammation in the lower half of the body, performing these exercises on dry land may be impossible. However, done in a swimming pool, much of the bodyweight is taken off the joints and these exercises become attainable to those who could never imagine doing them on land. Water-resistance adds stability for those with a poor sense of balance while also creating a customized intensity dictated by the effort expended.
Arthritis Water Exercise Classes
Because of the prevalence of arthritis these days there are many water exercise classes set up specifically for the sufferers of the condition. Most of these classes take place in warm water pools and feature exercises designed to alleviate the pain caused by various forms of arthritis. Check your local listings to see if these classes are available to you.
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