Regular daily exercise is essential in alleviating stiff joints and discomfort from arthritis. Doing your workouts in a heated pool is particularly beneficial because the warm water relaxes your joints, and is an ideal low-impact activity that has a therapeutic effect on the entire body. Your local gym may offer water exercise classes designed for those dealing with arthritis issues, but you can also do home-based water exercises in a hot tub, a pool, or even a bathtub. Consult with your physician before engaging in any new fitness activity.
Standing Leg Exercise
Leg lifts are an ideal beginner-level exercise that you perform roughly five to ten times on each side. Lean against a wall on one side, and then bend your knee and lift up your thigh as high as you can. Use your hand to keep your thigh steady, if you wish. Unbend your leg slowly until it is directly in front of you, and then gently lower it down, without allowing your knee to bend. Do this again with the other leg.
You can easily perform small range-of-motion hand exercises like finger curls and thumb circles at home in your own bathtub. Start by putting your hand underwater, and then rotate your thumb in a large circular motion, and repeat at least 3 to 10 times. Next, move your thumb in the opposite direction for the same number of repetitions. Perform finger curls into a relaxed fist by bending each finger joint in a slow and gentle manner. Carefully unbend one finger joint at a time, and repeat this joint exercise up to eight repetitions, and don’t forget to do the other hand.
Swimming laps works every muscle in your body, but it may not be the most appropriate water activity for arthritis, unless you’re already in decent shape to do so. Some people with arthritis may find certain swimming strokes to be too strenuous or uncomfortable. It is not necessary to swim laps to achieve health benefits from exercising in the water. You can sit in a shallow pool or stand in water to do range-of-motion exercises, which will aid joint mobility, improve flexibility, and reduce stiffness.
This exercise firms and strengthens the entire body and will tone your legs, arms and build up your abdominal muscles as you try to maintain good posture and balance. Start this move by straddling the noodle, and then do the breast stroke with your arms while moving your legs in a bicycle motion. The objective is to go around the swimming pool as much as you can.
Arthritis Foundation: Water Exercise
Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and freelance writer. She has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College. Robin specializes in weight loss health, total body toning, aerobic and plyometric training, nutrition planning, in-home and boot camp style workouts for women. Lifelong learning and educating others about natural health, physical fitness, nutrition and wellness is her passion. Robin’s goal is to make every personal training session fun and effective for her clients. Her services include both in-person and online personal training.