There is no dearth of scientific evidence that supports the role of swimming in imparting extra strength and in enhancing a more youthful sense of well-being. Well, if you are looking for a pain-free exercise regime for treating arthritic joint pains, which is far more relaxing and enjoyable, then all you have to do is stay in the pool for a little longer and follow simple exercises by letting the buoyancy of the water balance your body weight, without having to strain your painful joints.
If the whole idea of exercising seems like a daunting task to you, then start slow and read on to know how you can make exercises more fun by getting into the pool.
Beat the Symptoms of Arthritis Using Aquatic Workouts
There is nothing like the “best exercise” for treating arthritis but swimming in itself has been recommended for arthritic patients, since it provides a whole body aerobic workout, without necessarily putting a lot of stress on the aching joints. Inflammation of the membrane surrounding the joints in arthritic patients makes the body devoid of a natural source of lubrication for the joints, thus restricting joint movements. These exercises can serve as a good substitute for the damaged membrane by keeping your joints flexible.
All aquatic exercises can be done by standing next to the wall of the pool by placing your palm straight and bending your elbows, so that you have full support from the wall. However, if you are comfortable balancing your body in water, then you can move into the shallow ends of the pool. Before you begin any strenuous exercise, enjoy the soothing water and once your muscles and affected joints feel more comfortable, slowly increase the intensity of your exercise.
This is the simplest of all the exercises and one of the best ways to tone your muscles. It has been reported that walking in water provides about 12 times more resistance than air does, thus making your joints more limber and increasing your range of motion.
If you experience difficulty walking in deep waters, then hold on to one side of the pool and walk in place or use a flotation belt to keep yourself at the shoulder level. Gradually, you can try lifting both your knees alternatively to your waist level and slide backwards and then sideways for about a minute each.
Plant your feet firmly on the floor and stand at your shoulder level with your head facing forward. Smoothly tilt your head towards your right shoulder and try to touch your ear with your shoulder. Do not strain your neck too much, if you feel a tingling pain and tilt only to the level that your joints can endure. Bring it back to the centre and now tilt your head to the left. Repeat this for 10 – 12 times.
Stand straight by using your abdominal muscles to help you maintain a good posture. Make sure that your arms are at your shoulder level and do not lift them above the water level. Extend your arms sideways with your palms facing the floor of the pool slowly by counting to five. With the same pace, press them down until they touch the thighs and repeat for 10-12 times.
Front raise can be done by using equipments as light as an empty water bottle to something as heavy as water buoys, which resemble dumbbells for strengthening your shoulders.
Hold an equipment that suits your joint pain and slowly lift one hand at a time parallel, to the floor and perpendicular to your body. Alternate between both hands or do it simultaneously for about 10-12 times.
Swinging your arms sideways is the best way of making shoulders more flexible and lumber. Lift your arms with your elbows straight and palms facing the floor and make small circles by lowering your arms and then raising them up swiftly with your palms facing the ceiling. Ensure that you do not start with bigger circles and only raise them to a height that your shoulders can bear. Repeat it 10-12 times for improving joint function
Stand still with your arms pressed down. Now slowly raise your hand by keeping the elbow under water and your thumb facing upwards. Move your arms towards your shoulders.
Repeat this with your thumb facing the floor and bring your hand towards your shoulders. This can help strengthen your elbows, if repeated for 10-12 times on a daily basis.
Knees and Hips
Take the support of the wall of a pool and lift one knee at a time and hold for about 5 seconds. Balance your body well ensuring that you are not floating. Repeat this for about 10 times.
Stand firm and place your hands on your hips. Slowly move your hips in a circular motion. Rotate them towards your right for 5 times and towards your left for another 5 times. This improves coordination and endurance in your pelvic region, allowing you to carry out your daily activities with maximum ease.
The goal of all the above mentioned exercises is to improve your joint movement and restore and preserve flexibility and strength to prevent your joints from further damage. Also, the whole feeling of staying in warm water can enhance your mood, not allowing you to feel the sensation of pain.
Warm water allows the heat to pass through your body, causing your blood vessels to dilate and improve blood circulation. If you are a beginner, seek help from the doctors and inform them about the type and severity of your condition, so that they can tailor the exercises suitable enough to put the least amount of stress on your body parts that are affected by arthritis.
In conclusion, try to adapt more natural ways of treating arthritis and bid goodbye to analgesics that are not free from any side effects. Furthermore, if you are confident enough about your swimming skills, instead of a pool, try swimming in natural water bodies that are endowed with minerals, which have been shown to significantly relieve arthritic symptoms and improved joint range of motion and spinal inflammation. However, bear in mind that one cannot treat arthritis by neglecting the other weight bearing exercises. Therefore, do not stick to aquatic exercises alone and once your muscles become flexible, gradually start including other exercises in your routine that are best suited for relieving arthritic pain.