Is being active a part of your life? If you suffer from arthritis, you might actually do all you can to avoid physical activity. As many orthopedic experts caution, though, trying to stop achy joints with a sedentary lifestyle may result only in more pain when you do move. Too little exercise can also lead to other health problems such as obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Staying Put at Home understands that not all types of exercise may benefit arthritis sufferers. In fact, high-impact activities might aggravate joint deterioration. However, you can find workout options to fit your interests and health needs. In the last of our series on arthritis-friendly exercise, we discuss water aerobics, an enjoyable way to get moving, get wet and get in shape.
How Water Helps Joints
Why does the Arthritis Foundation recommend water activities for arthritis sufferers? Well, consider how much harder it is to move your arms or legs through water than in air. The resistance you feel has two major benefits. One, it provides a buoyant buffer around your joints. So when you take a step in water, your joints experience significantly less stress than when you walk on land. Two, it requires you to use more energy as you move from point A to point B, which means greater muscle exertion. Stronger muscles take the burden of motion off your joints, and as a result, you can slow their arthritic decline.
What You Can Do in the Water
The possibilities of water exercise are hindered only by your imagination. With the mention of water aerobics, many people think of choreographed movements taught by an instructor. While true that you can reap the benefits of exercise through this type of workout, it is only one of many water activities. You can just as easily walk the shallow section of a pool from one end to the other to get your physical activity. You might also consider another popular pool pastime: swimming. Even if you haven’t perfected your butterfly or freestyle, you can still get a good workout by doing a few laps of your favorite stroke.
Where to Take Advantage of Water Aerobics
If you have a pool in your backyard, you don’t even have to leave your house to enjoy the benefits of water aerobics. But if a private pool isn’t at your disposal, explore your local recreational center or school. Many public facilities have indoor pools that you can use year-round. So no matter how cold it gets outside, you can still hop into a pool and enjoy your favorite water exercise. Community centers often provide water aerobic classes as well. If the idea of working out alone puts you off exercising entirely, enlist your friends for a class so that you can get your heart rate up and catch up all at the same time.