Swimming is one of the best exercises for arthritis

Arthritis is a condition that is common in people of all ages. A joint becomes painful and inflamed and can make general movement difficult. Swimming and other similar water-based activities are some of the best exercises for arthritis.

Arthritis and swimming

When you swim, around 90% of your body weight is supported by the water. The relatively weightless environment and support from the water helps to overcome painful movement in the joints that are affected by the condition.

Swimming also helps to tone up the supporting muscles without the discomfort of other exercises. This also makes it ideal for disabled people or those suffering from a long-term injury or illness.

Swimming reduces further risk of arthritis by allowing a person to maintain their normal muscle strength and structure of joints. So swimming is not only one of the great exercises for arthritis but also for holding off arthritis.

Other exercises for arthritis

It is not just swimming that can help people with arthritis. Here are some other other exercises for arthritis.

  1. Aqua-jogging: this is running in the water. It lessens weight on joints by 50% compared with walking. Just remember not to over exercise and aggravate joints. It can feel really good in the water, so it’s possible to over-exercise and become fatigued. Use PoolFinder to find your local pool and ask them about aqua-jogging.
  2. Aqua-aerobics: this is aerobics in water, normally waist deep. It involves the upper and lower body, and mid-section. Ensure you warm up for five to 10 minutes with easy walking and arm movements. Use PoolFinder to find your local pool and ask them about aqua-aerobics.

A little about arthritis

Arthritis affects around ten million people in the UK. The most common forms of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form in the UK and it affects about 8 million people. It can occur at any age due to injury or a joint related condition. However, it more affects people over the age of 50.

The joints that are usually affected are the hands, knees, hips and spine. Initially it affects the smooth cartilage lining in a joint, making movement more of a struggle and leading to increased stiffness. As the cartilage thins which leads to swelling and eventually the cartilage erodes allowing the bones in the joint to rub together, which is also very painful.

Swimming has been identified as helping to reduce pain, stiffness and disability in those who suffer from this condition. It can also increase general mobility.

Rheumatoid arthritis is much less common, with around 400,000 people being affected in the UK. As with osteoarthritis, it generally occurs in older people, between the ages of 40 and 50. Arthritis affects women more than men.

Rheumatoid arthritis first targets the outer covering of a joint, but this can also spread across the joint. This leads to swelling which eventually changes the shape of the joint. This can cause both the cartilage and the bone to break down and rheumatoid arthritis can also lead to problems with other tissues and organs.