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Exercises for Arthritis: Diving into Water Aerobics and Beyond

March 8, 2019

It’s easy to fall behind in attaining your fitness goals, especially during times of inclement weather. And finding ways to exercise indoors that doesn’t involve heavy gym equipment or a treadmill can feel nearly impossible. Aquatic exercise is not only an excellent alternative for those looking to spice up their indoor workout routine, but it is especially effective for people living with arthritis. For individuals who experience painful symptoms like stiffness and joint pain, water aerobics and other water activities are a great way to get your heart rate up without causing damage or stress to your joints and muscles.

Understanding arthritis and its symptoms

According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is the leading cause of disability among adults in the United States. There are currently more than 100 different kinds of arthritis in which the symptoms for each may vary. The most common joint symptoms are swelling, pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. While symptoms may range in both pain and severity, the effects they have on your body may prompt you to change certain aspects of daily life, including your fitness routine.

The benefits of exercise

Exercise, while essential to every person’s health and well-being, is especially important for individuals with arthritis. Painful symptoms like joint pain and stiffness may cause people living with the disease to shy away from working out. However, exercise for arthritis can actually increase strength and flexibility around the joints, reducing the pain you experience from symptoms.

Exercise helps people with arthritis to

  • Strengthen muscles around the joints
  • Maintain bone strength
  • Improve balance
  • Control weight gain
  • Maintain energy

The Importance of maintaining a healthy weight when living with arthritis

For people living with arthritis, physical activity is critical to maintaining the severity of symptoms as a person’s body weight contributes to the amount of stress put on their joints. In fact, according to Eric Matteson, MD, chair of the rheumatology division at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, every pound of excess weight a person carries around exerts approximately 4 pounds of extra pressure on their knees.

So, for a person who is just 15 pounds overweight, their knees carry an extra 60 pounds of pressure on a daily basis. That can feel tiring and painful on anyone’s body, but it feels especially discomforting for a person struggling with joint pain from arthritis. Exercise can help individuals with arthritis maintain a healthy weight and eliminate any extra pressure on their joints.

What are good exercises for arthritis?

You’ll want to consult your doctor about exercises for arthritis that are best for your specific diagnosis. You should aim to participate in types of physical activity that have minimal impact on joints and work to strengthen the muscles around them. Range of motion exercises, strengthening exercises, and aerobic exercises are all low-impact workouts excellent for individuals with arthritis to maintain their physical activity. One aerobic exercise in particular that is found to be especially beneficial for people with arthritis is water aerobics. Water aerobics is a great way to get your heart rate up while keeping stress on joints to a minimum.

Jump right in! Why water aerobics is a great exercise for arthritis

Swimming is a fun way to add variation to your fitness routine, but for people with arthritis it’s more than fun, it’s effective and pain-free. Water aerobics is beneficial for individuals with arthritis because

  • The water’s buoyancy supports your body weight so you experience less impact on joints than out-of-water workouts;
  • The warmth of therapeutic pools helps to soothe joint pain;
    The water’s natural resistance gives you an excellent workout without the use of heavy weights to lessen the amount of pressure on joints;
  • Exercising in water can help improve balance and range of motion;
  • Water has greater resistance than air so jogging in a pool can often exert more energy and burn more calories than jogging on land, while reducing the amount of impact put on joints.

Step up your fitness routine with The Manor at York Town

The Manor at York Town, a premier independent living community located in picturesque Bucks County, is the perfect place to kick start your workout routine and reach your fitness goals. With an engaging wellness center full of state-of-the-art equipment as well as an indoor heated pool and Jacuzzi spa, fitness at The Manor becomes exciting and inspirational.

“Staying active is essential for older adults. At The Manor, our goal is to provide as many opportunities as possible to maintain the health and wellbeing of our residents so they can enjoy retirement,” says Robyn Fine, director of community life at The Manor. Robyn sees firsthand the beneficial impact The Manor’s wellness programs and facilities have on residents. With access to personal trainers who can design personalized exercise programs, and post-rehab functional exercises, as well as fitness evaluations and nutritional consultations, residents are empowered to live healthfully and maintain their physical activity.

Resident at The Manor, Carol Axler, is proud of her fitness routine and takes full advantage of The Manor’s exercise programs, including their indoor heated pool. “Every morning at 7 o’clock until 7:30 I start my day by working out on the fitness equipment. Then, I go into the Great Room, where we have exercise class from 7:30 to 8:00, and then from 9:00 to 10:00 I participate in water volleyball,” Carol explains, outlining an exercise routine that puts even most young people to shame.

For Carol, physical activity has always been important, and The Manor’s wide array of fitness programs opened her mind to new and exciting possibilities. “I had never played volleyball before coming to The Manor. I really got into it once I moved in. Water volleyball provides a different way of exercising,” Carol says about trying water volleyball for the very first time in The Manor’s heated indoor pool. Now, Carol plays on the water volleyball team that meets three times each week.