Research Recommends Water Aerobics to Ease the Pain of Arthritis

Arthritis is the nation’s most common disability, affecting 50 million adults in America. Between 2007- 2009 50% of adults 65 years or older reported an arthritis diagnosis. For seniors who suffer from arthritis, new research recommends the benefit of water aerobics to ease their pain. Seniors, or others who feel stymied by arthritis pain, all too often the prospect of increasing movement is the last thing they want to do because they fear injuring themselves further. But exercise in the water adds buoyancy and protects inflamed joints, and it can be fun. 

The Disease 

Arthritis is an inflammation of a joint, usually accompanied by pain, swelling, and stiffness, and it may occur as a result of infection, trauma or degenerative change. A research study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. 

One of the more interesting findings of this study is that perseverance counts. For seniors who begin a recommended exercise, such as water aerobics, sticking to it is associated with better outcomes. The results from the study indicate that water exercise patients report less pain, improved joint function, increased muscle strength and better perceived quality of life and well being. Researchers caution however that complying with an exercise does not mean exercising intensely. In fact, moderate exercise is just fine. 

Checklist for Seniors Starting a Water Aerobics Regimen 

Check in with a physician before beginning a water aerobics routine. Those with arthritis often fear creating more pain or injury to their body. Clearance for physical activity is good common sense and a smart practice for those with arthritis. 

If taking a class, find a certified instructor. There are several associations that certify instructors including the Aquatic Exercise Association and the Arthritis Foundation. 

Begin exercise in moderation to avoid injury. 

Individuals may also exercise safely on their own. The Arthritis Foundation has a 45-minute water exercise DVD. 

Water exercise may also be conducted in a bathtub at home focusing on the small muscle groups rather than the large muscle groups that require a pool or spa. 

Seniors who use the support of wheelchair or walker may still enjoy benefits of water exercise with help of flotation belts. 

Water aerobic sessions in Beaufort County SC: 

https://www.bcscrec.com/ aquatics 

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