Joint pain caused by arthritis can immobilize sufferers. The most common reason they give is that it is too painful to move. But experts recommend that arthritis sufferers should try to keep moving to keep the muscles relaxed and the joints less tender and more supple. Inactivity can actually aggravate the stiffness of the joints and make it more painful for arthritis sufferers to move about.
Exercise can actually decrease the pain and keeping a regular exercise routine at the same time every day can develop into a habit and make it part of your daily activities that you do automatically.
The exercises that you should do must be gentle, avoiding those that will jolt, jerk and bounce your body. Stretching and elongating exercises are best for arthritis and one of the exercise alternatives that have proved most effective is water aerobics. The feeling of weightlessness in the water will help arthritis sufferers move freely with less or no pain at all. The resistance provided by the water can provide cardio-vascular benefits. Aerobics exercise will increase the amount of oxygen that you will take in which helps in making the joints move smoothly. Here are some instructions on how to do water aerobics for arthritis.
- Exercise in a pool that is recommended for arthritis victims. The water should be kept warm, about seventy-eight to eighty-three degrees. It should have a shallow end and a deep end. Wear the proper clothing that will allow you to move freely while in the water.
- Do some warm up exercises before you begin the water aerobics. You can do some stretching, leg lifts and circular arms movements in the shallow end of the pool where you can remain submerged in the water up to your chest.
- Identify the exercises that you are most comfortable with and develop your own routine.
- Combine exercises with moderate intensity. Include marching, straight leg kicks, knee lifts, jumping jacks and lunges into your routine. Use some water resistance to increase your heart rate. Move further into the pool so that your shoulders are submerged in the water. Spread your arms out wide on your sides, shoulder level and palms open and facing forward. Keeping your elbows straight, slowly move your arms towards the middle until your palms meet. Then bring your arms back to the starting position. Do this six to eight times.
- Use one hand to hold on to the gutter and one arm straight out to the side to keep your balance. Swing your leg up and forward as far as you can raise it. Keep your knee straight. Then slowly bring the leg down and backward. This will loosen your hip joints and the resistance from the water will be enough to strengthen your leg muscles. Do eight repetitions on each side.
- Hold on to the gutter with two hands. Keep your elbows straight so that you are standing about one and a half to two feet away from the side of the pool. Keeping your knees straight, gently swing your leg to the side and across your other leg to strengthen your inner thigh muscles and your hip joints.
- To exercise your knees, face front and hold on to the gutter with your two hands and your back touching the side of the pool. Slowly lower your body, keeping the back straight as you go down by bending your knees. Go down as far as you can before slowly coming up. Make several repetitions are you can. If you feel stronger you can face the wall and bob up and down in moderate pace.
- Exercise your lower back and hamstring by pacing your hands on the gutter. Move slightly back, away from the pool wall. Place one foot in front of the other. Push your upper body, keeping the back straight toward the wall. The knee of the back leg should be straight while the forward leg must bend at the knees. Feel the pull on your back muscles and hamstring. Stay in place for fifteen clicks before switching to the other leg. Do six to eight repetitions for each leg.
- Use a flotation belt to do cycling, marching, straight leg kicks and frog kicks. With a flotation belt, you will be upright in the water without your feet touching the floor of the pool and you can move your legs freely. Combine your foot and leg exercises with arm swings and circular movements to increase your heart rate. Maintain an even heart rate while you go through your routine.
- Do not over-exercise. Rest when you feel tired. You can rest by simply floating on the water. Move your wrists up and down, close your hands into fists and open it with fingers spread apart and stretch and contract your leg muscles by pointing your foot down and up.
Although there is no known cure for arthritis, you can learn to manage it with water aerobics and other stretching exercises. Get plenty of rest but try to maintain activities that will keep you moving as this is more beneficial to you and your joints. With regular water aerobics, the symptoms of arthritis will be minimizes and in some cases, eliminated.