Exercise is a universal recommendation for arthritis treatment and prevention, while water exercise is especially ideal for those individuals with stiff and achy joints and for those who want to avoid it. Water can provide the warmth and buoyancy which can facilitate the exercising of joints affected by arthritis as warm water relaxes the muscles, pools allow for a wider variety and vigorous exercises.
The benefits of water aerobics for arthritis
• It keeps the joints moving.
Moving can be painful for your joints because of which you tend to hold them still, however immobilizing your joints can make them more stiff as your joints, ligaments and muscles lose their range of motion causing you more pain. Regular exercises can help keep the joints moving and restores its flexibility and strength. Exercising in water can be gentle for your joints and muscles as the buoyancy of the water supports and lessens the stress on your joints encouraging better movements, the resistance of water can also help build muscle strength.
• Use of heat can have many benefits.
The use of heat is recommended but not for all and one should consult the doctor before going for it. Heat has been found to relax muscles, decrease stiffness, relieve of pain and allows performing of exercises at greater ease. A pool with a temperature of around 83 to 88 degrees are usually considered comfortable by many people when exercising, use of hot water is considered not safe and does not give necessary results. Doctors often advise people with arthritis to soak in warm water in the morning before beginning their daily activities as this is a time when people find stiffness and pain at its worst.
• It can boost cardiovascular fitness.
Water aerobics works the whole body in multiple directions and promotes smooth movements instead of quick jerky movements. It allows to work at a higher level that you could tolerate on land, which helps improve mobility and strengthen cardiovascular endurance.
• It is low impact.
Walking or running can be painful for arthritic joints, however when in water the buoyancy reduces the pressure put on joints. Waist deep water supports upto 50% of your body weight, and neck-deep water supports 90% of your weight.
• It can reduce swelling.
When you submerge yourself in water you may pressure on the submerged parts, hydrostatic pressure provides some compression and can help reduce swelling and inflammation on the joints.
Regular exercise is an important part of arthritis treatment plan, but before you try any exercise program make sure to consult your doctor or physical therapist to know if pool exercises are right for you. Some things to remember before diving in is that water shoes will give you an extra friction inside water make sure you purchase one, stay hydrated and take a break if your joints starts to ache.
also read: Osteoarthritis: 5 Exercises to help with it.