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Water Exercises

Exercising in Water has extra benefits for people with arthritis or injuries of the spine or joints. But water exercises are not just for people with arthritis. Healthy people also enjoy water exercises. Water's soothing properties augment the stress relief you get from the water exercises themselves.

The feeling of weightlessness experienced when floating on water has a very relaxing effect on the mind and body. Maybe we find comfort being submerged in water because we all started out floating around in the womb.

The buoyancy of the water protects weight-bearing joints from further injury by supporting the majority of the body weight. (90% if underwater up to your neck, about 50% if in waist-high water). If you suffer from any inflammation of the joints, the pressure that water exerts on the body prevents the injured body part from swelling further.

The resistant properties of water help strengthen muscles without adding injury to the joints. Your muscles work harder to perform movements such as walking, marching, or other water exercises. The harder you work your large muscles, the harder your heart and lungs have to work to supply them with oxygen and more calories are burned. So you can get an excellent stress-busting aerobic workout with no or minimal stress to the weight bearing joints.

*See Aerobic Exercise page for warming up, cooling down, maximum heart rate, avoiding dehydration, etc. - topics that apply to water aerobics as well as land aerobics.

Many recreation centers and public swimming pools offer water exercises classes. You don't need to know how to swim, as water exercises are performs in waist-chest deep water. Find out what the temperature of the water will be during the class. The water temperature of the swimming pool is typically at a warmer temperature for water exercise classes geared towards those with arthritis or other physical limitations. The warmer temperature is also very soothing.

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