If you are one of the 50 million people in the U.S. who are living with arthritis, you are probably aware of the important role exercise plays in managing your symptoms. However, you may have struggled with finding an exercise routine that works for you. Your joints take a pounding when you attempt aerobics. Lifting weights is painful. Exercise classes leave you tired and in pain (and not in the “I just had an amazing workout” sort of way).
Is it hopeless? Absolutely not! You don’t have to punish your body to enjoy the benefits of exercise. Many people with arthritis find that aquatic therapy is the solution they need.
7 Benefits of Aquatic Therapy for Arthritis
1. It’s Low Impact
Exercises, like walking or running, can be painful for arthritic joints. However, with aquatic therapy this is not an issue. That’s because the water’s buoyancy reduces the pressure put on the joints. As a matter of fact, in waist deep water, up to 50% of your body weight is supported. Neck-deep water supports up to 90% of your weight!
2. It Can Ease Pain
It’s no secret that heat can play a role in easing pain. If you perform your exercise routine in a heated pool (ideally between 82 and 88 degrees), it may provide some pain relief.
3. It Can Reduce Swelling
If you pay attention, you may notice that, when you’re in the water, you feel pressure on submerged body parts. Hydrostatic pressure (the type of pressure exerted on your body by the water) provides some compression and can help to reduce swelling and joint inflammation.
4. It’s Great Resistance Training
In the water, you’ll encounter 12 times the resistance that air offers. Walking or doing any other exercise in the water requires more effort, so ultimately you’ll be burning more calories and building more muscle, resulting in a leaner, stronger you.
5. It’s Good For Your Heart
Because it’s low impact, aquatic therapy makes it possible to do aerobic exercise that could be painful or even impossible outside of the pool. Aquatic therapy patients have shown increased heart function and better circulation — which helps you heal faster should the need arise.
6. It Can Help With Mobility
Water-based exercises are great for improving posture, balance, and range of motion. These may suffer due to the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis, but they are all important in maintaining mobility and independence as you age.
7. You Can Do it Year Round
When the weather is warm, you may enjoy a refreshing dip in an outside pool, or even in a lake or the ocean. However, your aquatic therapy routine doesn’t have to end when the temperature dips. A nice heated, indoor pool can help you enjoy the benefits year round.
Maybe you’re thinking, “This sounds great, but I’ve never been a good swimmer.” You’ll be happy to hear that swimming ability does not determine whether or not a person can enjoy aquatic exercise. The classes are designed so that anyone can participate — even if they can’t swim at all! Exercises in deep water are done with flotation aids, so you can concentrate on the movements themselves and not on the effort of staying afloat.
If you’re looking for a way to stay fit and improve your arthritis symptoms, aquatic therapy just may be the answer! Why not give it a try?
The Davis Community Offers Rehabilitation at Its Finest
The Davis Community has a state-of-the-art rehabilitation center where our residents can exercise and/or recover from their surgeries using modern equipment designed especially for seniors. Our warm salt water pool offers seniors the opportunity to experience the many benefits of aquatic exercise or therapy. We take pride in offering the best rehabilitation in Wilmington NC. If you or an aging parent need physical rehabilitation, then visit our Facebook page to learn more about the fitness center at Davis Community. Or, for more information about our retirement community, nursing homes, or skilled nursing services, just give us a call today at 910-566-1200.