Those dealing with arthritis know the pain it can cause, pain that can occur when you walk, stand, or even lie down. The pain may even be so chronic that it becomes debilitating, keeping many people from doing even the simplest of activities. Wouldn’t it be nice to feel no pressure in the joints, to feel weightless? Water therapy exercises give you just that. When we float in water, 80-90 percent of our body feels weightless, the pressure is removed from all areas as the body is kept in suspension and the joints from rubbing against each other. You can see just how great this might feel to those suffering from arthritis, but there is a whole world of benefits that millions of people are receiving from water exercise therapy, especially those dealing with arthritis or another similar type of disease.
What’s so great about feeling weightless? Think of it this way: when you first enter the water waist deep, around 40-50 percent of your body feels weightless, start moving deeper where the water is covering your chest or neck, this takes away around 80% of your body’s weight. For those who are experiencing arthritis in the ankles, knees, and hips, you can see how automatically the pressure on the joints diminishes, thereby reducing the pain significantly. What about those dealing with arthritis in the hands, wrist, fingers, or shoulders? Glad you asked. When the arms are submerged it takes the pressure off the shoulders from supporting the weight of your arms. It also takes the pressure off the wrist, hands, and fingers as they float in the water and move freely, without using the muscles and bones to suspend them. Just this simple release of pressure from the joints makes arthritis suffers feel better instantly.
But wait…there’s more.
Water exercise therapy may be the only source of exercise for individuals experiencing arthritis. Even if you are able to get some amount of exercise outside of water therapy, it still won’t be as painless and easy on the body as water therapy. Exercising while experiencing arthritis pain may seem like a ridiculous idea for some. However, the stretching, strengthening, and aerobic exercise that you can perform in water impact the body far less than your average landlubber exercise. Arthritis sufferers may be surprised at the amount of physical activity they can perform while in the water. Many classes that are given in a group may include stretching the muscles out to reduce stiffness, something that might be too painful to try out of the water. You can also find your strengthening exercises in water therapy as well. Strengthening muscles help support the joints in the body, and can reduce the painful symptoms of arthritis. Sadly, many arthritis patients never really get a chance to strengthen these muscles because their arthritis pain is so great. Some groups even provide water aerobics classes that not give you a workout, but help improve blood circulation throughout the body, and is just enough cardio to help improve heart health.
Water exercise therapy requires no equipment (besides a bathing suit) and can be performed by those experiencing even the most painful arthritis conditions. Finding a group class should be relatively easy (depending on the area in which you live), however, you can always go solo and perform your own exercises by yourself. There are numerous water therapy exercises you can find on the internet, and let your physician know that you are starting a water exercise routine. They may be able to help you out with more information, or what type of water exercise would benefit you the most. So come on in…the water’s fine.
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