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Taking the Plunge: Aquatic Exercise Offers Arthritis Relief
9/28 16:27:48
Taking the Plunge: Aquatic Exercise Offers Arthritis Relief

Water exercise might be the most often recommended exercise for persons with arthritis – for good reason.

Water has several properties that make it an ideal workout locale for people with arthritis who struggle to perform land exercise.

Water's buoyancy accommodates people of all fitness levels, allowing it to benefit virtually everyone. Exercise in warm water causes your blood vessels to dilate and increases circulation. Water cools your body and prevents overheating.

Most importantly for persons with arthritis, water cushions stiff and painful joints or fragile bones that might be injured by the impact of land exercises. When immersed to the waist, your body bears just 50 percent of its weight; immersed to the chest, it's 25 percent-35 percent; and, to the neck, just 10 percent.

As a result, water exercise can greatly improve fitness and range of motion and can be used to successfully relieve pain and stiffness.

But all of this doesn’t mean water workouts are too easy. Water provides at least 12 times greater resistance than air, and in every direction, so it’s still a great workout. A half-hour of deep-water running burns about 300 calories, and a 150-pound person swimming for an hour at his or her target heart rate burns about 600 calories per hour.

And the stereotype that aquatic exercise is just for white-haired grandmothers simply doesn’t hold true. In recent years, a new wave of water workouts has included everything from higher-intensity exercises like kickboxing and circuit training to workouts like tai chi. Even previously land-bound exercise equipment like handheld weights, rubber tubing, bicycles and treadmills have found their ways into some pools.

Many gyms offer a variety of aquatic exercise programs. In the absence of classes, books, videos and web workouts are an excellent way to learn proper techniques and create your own, doctor-approved plan.

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