How to Relieve Arthritis With Water Aerobics

Water aerobics can help relieve the pain and stiffness of arthritis. The painful and swollen joints of arthritis patients may cause them to stop exercising, but the lack of motion causes even more stiffness and pain. Water aerobics relieve pain and stiffness, as well as promote good circulation. Here are some tips to help relieve arthritis symptoms with water aerobics.


    • 1

      Check the temperature of the water before starting your aerobic exercise. Warm water, between the temperature of 82 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit is the best for arthritics doing water exercises. Warm water helps to relieve the pain of arthritis and will make your exercise more comfortable. Temperatures below 82 degrees or above 88 degrees will make the exercise uncomfortable.

    • 2

      Begin the water aerobics with a warm up period. A warm up is especially helpful for those with arthritis to "loosen up" stiff joints before starting the aerobic exercise. Gentle range of motion exercise is a good warm up before beginning aerobic water exercises. Sit on the side of the pool and move your ankles in a circular motion, then reverse the motion. After getting in the water, do gentle stretching exercises or walk across the pool. Bend your knees and straighten them, then do the same with your arms. Warm up for five minutes.

    • 3

      Start the aerobic part of your exercise slowly, if you are new to it. Aerobics will raise your heart rate and breathing for an extended period of time, which keeps you and your heart healthy. Use the large muscles of your legs and arms in a rhythmic motion to achieve aerobics. Because water has much more resistance than air, exercise done in the water is more strenuous and more effective. Water displaces about 90 percent of your body weight, so there is virtually no stress on the joints, bones or muscles of arthritis sufferers.

    • 4

      Exercise in the shallow end of the pool, if you can't swim. Good aerobic exercises for the shallow part of the pool include jogging, running, leg swings, walking sideways or backwards. For arthritis sufferers who can swim, go to the deep end and use a flotation device, if necessary. Exercise as though you were riding a bike, doing jumping jacks, skiing or jogging.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.
  • Never swim or exercise alone.
  • Wear rubber soled sandals, if the pool bottom is slippery.
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