Arthritis and Water Exercise Do Mix

By: Jody Smith

Like going for walks but find that arthritis is making them less enjoyable and harder to do? Arthritistoday.com suggested that you consider combining your walks with the soothing buoyancy of water exercise.

Water walking is quite different from walking on dry land.

Water offers up to 12 times more resistance than air so all movement will be more effective in strengthening and building your muscles.

Walking in water is gentle on your joints because water engulfs you with its buoyancy, so stress on those joints is reduced and pain is decreased.

An easier workout can be done in the shallow end of a pool. If you'd like something more intensive, head for the deep end. If you're walking in deep water, you might want to wear a flotation belt, which will help you to stay vertical in the water.

Walking can be done in the usual way, putting one foot in front of the other. For variety and to work out other muscles, you can put one foot behind the other and go backwards, or go crab-style, sideways.

If you're ready to progress from the gentlest of workouts, you can make it more vigorous by lifting your knees higher, or by pumping your arms and legs harder. Try interval training while you water walk. This just means that you will alternate between a relaxed walk, and one where you pump those limbs harder for short periods.

A class or personal instructor would be beneficial, at least in the beginning to help you perfect your form and lessen the chance of injury.

Arthritis pain and stiffness can be kept somewhat at bay by keeping your joints moving. This will help protect and improve your strength, flexibility, stamina, coordination, and your ability to handle day-to-day activities. It will help prevent more damage from arthritis. According to Arthritis.org, water can be a wonderful vehicle for people with arthritis.

Before you start to exercise, take some time to relax in the water first. Only then should you start your water exercise. Spend some time in the water after you finish exercising as well.

The type of exercise routines that will have benefits for you, will depend on the type of arthritis you have, and the kinds of symptoms you live with. It will depend on which joints are affected and how seriously they are affected. Your age and general fitness level, and whether you deal with other health conditions, are also important factors to consider.

Discuss water exercise, or any other exercise program, with your health care professionals.

Sources:

Water Walking 101

http://www.arthritistoday.org/fitness/walking/types-of-walking/water-walking.php

Water Exercise

http://www.arthritis.org/water-exercise.php

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