If you have osteoarthritis, staying fit can be a particular challenge because there are so many activities that are painful. One great activity that really helps with flexibility, pain reduction and fitness is swimming. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of swimming for people with osteoarthritis. Read on to learn more.
If you have your own pool, you have no excuse for not maintaining an excellent level of fitness. A daily swim will help you feel better and be healthier in every way. Be sure to keep the water warm enough to really help with muscle, tendon and joint aches and pains. A standard pool heater or a solar pool heater can really help with this.
If you do not have your own pool, there are lots of options available for you. Visit your local Y, your community pool, a pool at a local senior center, college or university. You could also join a health club that offers pool and spa facilities. This is a great way to rest, relax and get good exercise all in one trip.
Many of these facilities offer water aerobics classes that you are sure to enjoy. You will be surprised at the excellent, sweat free workout you can get while supported on all sides by water. Getting gentle, supported exercise every day is key to staying flexible and reducing the pain of osteoarthritis.
You can enjoy fun workouts by walking, skipping and jumping in the shallower end of the pool. Build up to in-water running, and try running into the deep water and then plunging in to swim to the end of the pool. This kind of free form exercise is fun and exhilarating and is the in-water version of interval training.
You could also swim laps; however, you should not start out with a challenging exercise like lap swimming. Instead, begin by walking laps in the shallow part of the pool and paddling around a bit to help get your muscles and your entire body used to more exercise. You may want to take advantage of a kick-board or similar flotation device for support.
Make creative use of other pool implements. For example, even if you do not swim with your head under the water, a snorkel can help you breathe without turning your head. This is a good idea if you experience a lot of neck pain.
When doing standing exercises for your ankles, knees and hips, you can use an inflatable donut float around your waist to help you stay stable and prevent your going underwater if you should fall over.
Water exercise is one of the best forms of exercise for people with osteoarthritis. It addresses every aspect of the symptoms of this illness, from inflexibility to pain to bone density. Even though water exercises do not help build bone density quite as effectively as weight bearing exercise on land, they do help some. Additionally, you will feel so much better from your water workouts that you will be able to participate more fully in other types of exercise.
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