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News Letter

Home Health Education Living With Joint Pain
Aquatic Therapy Helps People with Arthritis Regain Mobility Print E-mail

Some of the pain that arthritis patients endure is not a direct result of their arthritis. Many people with arthritis are out of condition, less flexible and have more pain due to complications of inactivity, rather than just arthritis. Pain, stiffness, fatigue, and fear of doing harm can make it difficult to be physically active with arthritis. Research shows that many people with arthritis can safely exercise; achieving better aerobic fitness, strength, endurance and flexibility. Improvement in physical fitness leads to a better ability to walk, greater ease doing daily activities, and an improved sense of well-being. A tailored program should include a balance of three types of exercises: range-of-motion, strengthening, and endurance. These exercises can relieve the symptoms of arthritis and protect joints from further damage. Before starting any exercise program, people with arthritis should consult with their doctors.

Aquatic exercise can deliver all of these benefits.

Aquatic exercise therapy is often recommended for people with arthritis because it is a low-impact program. "Impact" here refers to pounding or pressure on your joints that can result from other exercises such as jogging or even walking. Aquatic exercise eliminates gravity and can make exercise much less painful and easier to perform. The water supports your weight and therefore reduces the impact on your joints. Aquatic exercise therapy also helps increase endurance, range of motion, balance and coordination.

Exercising in the water is also fun and relaxing. You can meet other participants who share some of your experiences with arthritis and who understand what you are going through.

Classes are often run in a hospital therapy pool, hotel pools or community facilities such as the YMCA/YWCA.

You can learn about classes in your area by asking your physician, who can recommend an aquatic exercise class consistent with your specific needs. A prescription for therapy is not needed to participate, but often a physician release is required. Your local office of the Arthritis Foundation also will have information on aquatic exercise classes.

 

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