Arthritis of any kind can be extremely painful and debilitating, and while it’s incurable, it is treatable. Medications, physical therapy, exercise and massage can all help considerably. The good news is it doesn’t need to be intensive, or make you break out in a sweat. In fact, you can perform many of these exercises in a pool or hot tub.
Why Hot Water Exercises? Why Not?
If you suffer from arthritis, you’ll be all too familiar with the pain and stiffness that goes with it. Fortunately, the heat from the water can greatly ease that pain and reduce the stiffness in your muscles and joints. And unlike other exercises, the water reduces the chance of jarring your joints, while still providing some resistance to help you build your muscles.
Exercising in a pool or hot tub has other benefits too. The water can improve the circulation in your limbs, while the pressure of the water flowing through the jets can massage your muscles and reduce the stress and strain in your body. You’ll relax more easily, have less pain and stiffness, and find performing various movements and motions much easier.
You should of course speak to a professional or doctor before hand in order to make sure you get the best advice and maximum benefit from this type of exercise!
Types of Water Exercises
The type of exercises you need depends on the severity of your arthritis, your fitness level, and your ability. If you’re extremely unfit, or looking for a way to break into it gently, try swimming laps at your local pool, or maybe join a beginner water aerobics class. This will help you get your whole body moving and improve your fitness level. Your local pool may also offer gentle exercises and classes designed specifically for certain conditions and diseases.
In terms of therapy, look for physiotherapists who offer hydrotherapy. These one-on-one or group sessions focus on specific areas or regions of the body. Want something designed to target your trouble areas? Talk to a physiotherapist, who can work with you to create a personalized program.
Health and Safety Risks
As with any exercise program, you need to be careful. Keep your health and safety in mind at all times. Before you even start, check with your doctor and/or physiotherapist. Take your time, and be prepared to build up your endurance slowly. If you feel weak or ill at any point during your routine, get out of the water and take a break.
The area you’re exercising needs the support and resistance of the water, so keep it under the water, even if it means you’ll need to squat down or bob. But make sure you still have enough space to perform the necessary movements — you don’t want to hurt your muscles, joints, or suffer another injury. And of course, make sure you’re following a proper diet and drinking plenty of fluids.
The heat of a hot tub and the soothing motion of the water in a pool can bring significant relief to arthritic bones and joints. Even the smallest movements can help ease the pain and stiffness.
And the best part? It’s enjoyable, so what have you got to lose?