When you have arthritis pain with an inflamed joint, the last thing you might imagine could help would be exercise. Doesn’t it seem like moving would only increase the pain? But exercise strengthens muscles to support the joints, and keeps the joint moving fluidly. The best thing about using your pool to exercise in is the physical support the water provides. You can exercise softly without putting a lot of stress on your body, or increasing pain.
The Arthritis Foundation advocates hot water spa therapy as well as water therapy in a larger pool to relieve arthritis pain. The hot water will give arthritis suffers multiple benefits including:
- muscle relaxation
- decreased pain and stiffness
- greater ease when performing exercises and daily activities.
- massage by the jet nozzles helps relax tight muscles
Although most swimmers know that it only takes a little while in the pool to ‘get used to the water’, for arthritis sufferers it is probably a good idea to add a solar pool heater.
Working out in your pool can also benefit arthritis sufferers by:
- Soothing with warm water and assisting in exercise with buoyancy to make it a safe, ideal environment for relieving arthritis pain and stiffness.
- Immersion in warm water raises your body temperature, causing your blood vessels to dilate and increasing circulation.
- Water exercise is a gentle way to exercise joints and muscles.
- Water supports joints to encourage free movement, and also act as resistance to help build muscle strength.
The foundation promotes Water Walking as an exercise program which supports your joints while you stretch. They recommend a heated pool for the most comfort. Water also has more resistance to get through than air, which water requires more effort and helps strengthen muscles more quickly than regular walking.
Many aquatic centers, YMCAs and community pools have programs designed for people with arthritis.
Check with your local Arthritis Foundation, YMCA and community pools for swim classes or group swims offered for arthritis sufferers.