Swimming is a whole-body exercise that benefits any person, but is especially effective for those who suffer from arthritis. Because it is difficult to choose a specific exercise for each person, doctors often recommend people with arthritis to practice swimming. The exercise combined with the support provided by the water facilitates aerobic exercise without the need to put additional stress on the joints.
Arthritis is often thought to affect only the elderly, but people of any age can suffer from it. The most common forms of arthritis are: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Both cause inflammation in the joints such as those in the knees or wrists. People suffering from arthritis may experience pain, stiffness, swelling, redness and decreased range of motion. With osteoarthritis, the problems stem from the wear and tear damage of the cartilage that allows the bones of the joint to slide smoothly between them. With rheumatoid arthritis, the body's immune system attacks the joints and inflames the membrane that lubricates the joint.
If you suffer from arthritis, exercise is important to keep your joints flexible. However, many people avoid doing it because it can be very painful. That is why the recommended exercise is swimming. In a pool the buoyancy of the water helps to reduce the pressure on the aching joints that support the weight of the body. Both swimming and doing aerobic exercise in the water can give you a good cardiovascular training in addition to helping to keep the joints flexible, allowing you to increase range of motion. On the other hand the feeling of support of warm water can increase your mental and physical energy.
Walking in the water
"Arthritis Today" informs that if you do not want to swim but still want to have the benefits of aquatic training you can try to walk in the water. According to aquatic coordinator Vennie Jones, walking in the water "offers 12 times the air resistance". You can walk in a deep pool or in a shallow one, but the sling will give you more intense training. If you want to walk to the deepest part use a flotation belt to keep you afloat and upright with water up to your shoulders. Simply walk in the water in the same way you do on the earth. Scroll back and to the sides to tone more muscles.
Complement the routine
While swimming and performing water exercise provide benefits to people with arthritis, a water workout is not a perfect exercise routine."Arthritis Today" notes that exercise with weight is necessary for bone health. Weight exercises help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bones and affects many older people, especially women. So when you finish using the pool, try walking on land or train with weight to complete your exercise routine.