Water is buoyant and thus reduces pressure on the joints in general. For patients with mild hip arthritis, water exercises are often the best way to alleviate pain through exercise. A patient's swimming regimen can vary depending on what they feel comfortable doing. As with any exercise routine, a physician should be consulted before starting.
Water walking is a new exercise concept that combines the benefits of swimming with the benefits of walking. The water's buoyancy minimizes weight on the joints to alleviate pain, the same as in swimming. However, walking in the water provides great exercise as well because of the resistance.
Water is up to 12 times more resistant than air, which enables a person with arthritis in the hip to exercise pain free while simultaneously strengthening the muscles as he would if he were walking. The deeper the water, the harder the exercise on the body. The only drawback to this form of exercise is that swim walking puts no weight on the actual bones, so older individuals may need to make sure that they add exercises that will strengthen bone to the exercise regimen as well to decrease the risk of osteoporosis, or bone loss.