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Why Swimming is Good for Arthritis

If there’s any doubt that swimming is beneficial for those with arthritis, all anyone has to do is look at all the classes being held specifically for those with joint conditions. They’re scheduled at disparate locations ranging from health clubs and schools to public pools and physical therapy practices. Swimming is one of the most beneficial types of exercise for those with arthritis and a wide variety of joint-related conditions.

For a truly therapeutic session, make sure the pool will be heated. Swimming utilizes every muscle in the body, stimulates circulation, improves vascular health, and helps build strength. It eases pain, stiffness, and improves flexibility. However, the real advantage of swimming for people with arthritis is the water itself.

An individual in the water isn’t supporting the entirety of their own weight or experiencing the full effect of gravity due to the buoyancy that water provides. That makes it easier to move and reduces the stress on bones and joints. It’s not weightlessness but offers a small taste of what astronauts experience. A person weighing 100 pounds on land will feel like they weigh about 69 pounds in the water.

Water provides buoyancy and relieves the forces of gravity on the body. Less effort has to be expended to move, which places less stress on the body. The amount of water that a body displaces is equal to the upward amount of buoyancy. The buoyancy factor of water helps support and hold a person up.

There’s a misconception that swimming for arthritis relief is primarily for seniors. Swimming is equally advantageous for people of all ages. Anyone experiencing soreness, pain, or difficult movement can benefit. Swimming is also an excellent exercise for anyone experiencing lingering effects from accidents. It’s always best to ensure that the sessions will be monitored or a lifeguard is on duty for complete safety.

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Benefits of Deep-Water Exercise

The benefits of exercising in deep water has been known for centuries and forms the basis of many therapeutic practices in the modern world. Dozens of public gyms and community pools have initiated water aerobics classes that have been met with great enthusiasm and success.

Always be sure and consult with a physician before beginning any type of exercise routine. Pool owners already have everything they need to take advantage of aquatic workouts. The exercise is appropriate for all age groups.

Low Impact

Swimming is a low-impact exercise, but don’t discount its benefits, particularly for individuals with arthritis or healing from injuries. Water buoys the body’s weight, reduces the effects of gravity on the body, and makes it easier to move. Aquatic exercise also reduces the potential for injuries.

The buoyancy of water means individuals are only supporting a percentage of their normal body weight. For instance, standing in waist-level water reduces the gravitational force on the body by 50 percent, while neck-level water reduces the force of gravity by about 90 percent, depending upon the body’s density. 

Strengthens the Core

Exercising in deep water is great for strengthening the core and that adds stability to the body. It’s an effective exercise for anyone, particularly seniors and pregnant women. A stronger core enhances flexibility, improves balance and posture, and supports coordination that can actually aid in reducing accidents and falls.

Full Body Workout

Swimming in deep water utilizes all the muscles in the body and burns a significant number of calories. It’s an effective form of exercise for those with a wide range of chronic illnesses and disease ranging from COPD and osteoporosis to cardiac conditions. Water is also an excellent form of resistance training.

Stress Relief

Water creates a massaging effect as the body moves through it that’s relaxing and relieves stress. Water-based exercise improves circulation to pump oxygenated blood throughout the body and aids in sleep.

Competitive Edge

Those that regularly utilize deep water exercise to improve athletic abilities and endurance include hikers, mountain climbers, bicyclists, and weight lifters. It’s an important part of training for many professional athletes and it’s equally effective for recreational and amateur athletes.

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Health Benefits of Swimming

An increasing number of people are installing pools that enable them to swim for health and fitness. Those that aren’t fortunate enough to have their own pool are making use of those at gyms and fitness centers. Countries around the world are promoting the health benefits of swimming for individuals of all ages and it’s particularly beneficial for those with joint-related problems.

Low impact

Water buoys the body and swimmers feel as if they’re lighter in the element. That buoyancy makes it easier for those that are overweight or have joint problems, such as arthritis, to move more freely and improve their flexibility.

Full-Body Workout

When people swim, they use almost every part of their body to propel themselves through the water. Swimming tones the muscles, builds strength, and improves endurance. It’s great for weight loss, since swimming burns hundreds of calories per hour.

Heart and Lungs

Swimming builds lung power and healthier hearts. The heart rate is elevated during swimming, but people tend to feel it less since their bodies are buoyed by the water.

Rehab

Those that swim improve their coordination, posture and balance. Swimming is an effective physical therapy method used by physicians to aid in relieving pain and rehabilitating injuries.

Slow and Safe

For those just starting out or getting back to the pool after several years, it’s best to first check with a physician to verify that a swimming routine is safe. Make sure the swimming environment is safe and don’t overdo it. Swim with a friend and ensure a lifeguard is on duty at public pools.

Even though swimmers are in a watery environment, it’s critical to have plenty of fluids on hand and partake of them regularly to stay hydrated. It’s important to warm up before engaging in any type of physical activity and swimming is no different. Swimming knows no age limits and is an activity that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.

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