Are You Considering An
Arthritis Water Exercise Class?

Exercise is an important part of arthritis treatment. And for those with arthritis water exercise is often recommended. Could water exercise help relieve your joint pain? Why is water or aquatic exercise so good for arthritis in the knee and hip? And what should you look for in a water exercise program?

Why Water Exercise?

For those suffering from arthritis symptoms, water exercise is often recommended for a number of reasons:

• Warmer water can help to ease joint stiffness. As arthritis is inflammation of the joints, stiffness is one of the primary symptoms. Movement of the joints can help to reduce joint stiffness while the warm water helps to reduce joint pain.

• Because you are more buoyant in water, the stress in the joints is reduced. In general, if you are up to your chest level in the water, the stress on your weight bearing joints will be 75% less than on land.

• The water itself will provide resistance against muscles thus aiding in improving strength. As muscles work like shock absorbers around joints, increasing muscle strength is an important component to reducing joint stress.

water exercise

Aspects of a Good Water Class

If you are considering an arthritis water exercise class here some aspects to look for before you join:

• Aquatic exercise classes should be held in a warm water pool, preferably between 83 and 88 degrees. This temperature is higher than most typical swimming pools. Water exercise should not be done in hot tubs.

• Classes should be conducted by an individual with experience in teaching water exercise classes to those with arthritis.

• Classes should begin with a light warm up and end with a cool down.

• Flotation devices should be available for those requiring additional assistance.

• The instructor should include modifications for exercises to allow individuals at different fitness levels to safely participate.

If you are looking for an arthritis water exercise class, contact your local YMCA or the Arthritis Foundation for information on classes available in your area. Consider going to see a class before participating in one so you know if it is the right level for you and so you know what to expect.

Finally, no exercise program will be beneficial unless you participate on a consistent basis. Commit to exercising a minimum of twice a week in order to obtain the benefits of exercise.

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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007 Oct 17;(4):CD005523.Aquatic exercise for the treatment of knee and hip osteoarthritis.Bartels EM, Lund H, Hagen KB, Dagfinrud H, Christensen R, Danneskiold-Samsøe B

PM R. 2010 Aug;2(8):723-31; quiz 793.Effectiveness of aquatic exercise for obese patients with knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial.Lim JY, Tchai E, Jang SN