Arthritis affects the synovium and destroys the joints. The process gradually leads to the destruction of bone and cartilage present inside the joints
Like an ordinary machine to work smoothly and efficiently, our bodies require well-oiled machinery to carry out essential functions and maintain a check on the working of tissues and organs. Common exercises and workouts can help to relieve pain and flex up your muscles to ease stiffness in joints. Sedentary lifestyle paves way for diseases and illnesses and the problem aggravates during old age. People in old age are likely to witness many diseases as their bodies are exposed to frail conditions and extra sensitivity. Human body, after the age of 60, begins to witness a sudden decline and changes in strength further leading to weak muscles and joints.
Arthritis is an age-related disorder affecting old people leading to joint pain and stiffness of joints. The problem may lead to swelling, redness, warmth and disrupted movement of joints. Practice of water aerobics performed vertically in a swimming pool and usually without swimming in knee-deep water helps build up stronger resistance in water-immersed patients. Let us find out more on how water related exercises can ease the stiffness in joints and aid people with arthritis.
What is Arthritis And How Is It Caused?
Arthritis is a condition marked by inflammation of joints and the disorder is likely to affect multiple joints. Symptoms range from joint pain and stiffness apart from major swelling in joints. Arthritis can be classified into different forms as there are more than 100 different types marked by separate causes and methods of treatments. Two of the most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis is characterized by joint pain, stiffness, and swelling whereby, the range of motion may decrease, and one is likely to experience redness in the skin around the area surrounding the joint. Patients with Rheumatoid arthritis experience tiredness and loss of appetite due to inflammation arising from degeneration of the immune system. Chances of anemia are high decreasing the count of red blood cells along with slight fever.
Wondering what causes arthritis? Osteo arthritis is caused by the usual wear and tear of cartilage, a firm but flexible connective tissue located in joints, responsible for protecting the joints by soaking the pressure and shock created while moving and putting pressure on the joints. Reduction in amounts of cartilage tissue can lead to some forms of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a kind of autoimmune disorder occurring from the body’s immune system attacking healthy tissues. The attacks are likely to damage synovium, a soft tissue present in the joints producing a fluid that lubricates and nourishes the cartilage and joints.
Water Aerobics For Arthritis
Water aerobics or aquatic fitness starts with the activity of aerobic exercise in water or a swimming pool. The exercises are classified as types of resistance training as they are performed vertically and without swimming in waist deep water or even deeper. Water aerobics are guided exercises usually taking place in a group setting along with a trained professional teaching the basics for about an hour.
The classes and the activities delve into building aerobic endurance, resistance training and performing stretches, etc, in a peaceful and enjoyable atmosphere with music. Water aerobic include different forms such as aqua Zumba, water yoga, aqua aerobics, and aqua jog.
Aerobic Exercises: Benefits for Arthritis
Speaking on the role of exercises for Arthritis, Dr. Ashish Jain, Consultant Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon, P.D. Hinduja Hospital and MRC gets in touch with Onlymyhealth. He infers, “Low impact aerobic exercises like walking, cycling and swimming are preferred as they help in increasing and maintaining joint motion, stimulating and strengthening muscles, apart from improving cardiovascular function and endurance. This helps reduce the effort incurred by daily activities with painful joints.”
As per the national government guidelines, it is suggested for adults to attain 2 hours and 30 minutes of aerobic activity such as a fast walk or a bike ride, per week. Regular physical activity in one form or the other is suggested for older adults as they can ward off many health diseases that arise with age. The exercises help to maintain stronger muscles and encourage mobility of joints.
Being obese or weighing more is known to put an extra pressure on the joints and give birth of different forms of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and psoriatic arthritis. While the causes of development of each form is different, working out regularly and staying active through the day has proved benefits for people with arthritis.
Why Should One opt for Water Exercises?
Adding the benefits of water exercises and aerobics for people with arthritis, Dr. Jain further explains, “Aquatic exercises have numerous benefits in the elderly and arthritic patients. Water buoyancy reduces the body weight and subsequent impact on the joints. Water resistance improves muscle strength and stimulates bone density. It also burns more calories and helps in weight loss. Exercise in the elderly must be a combination of Aerobic and Resistance Training at all ages to keep our bones, joints and muscles healthy. This not only prevents arthritis, but also minimizes the symptoms and disability in established arthritic cases.”
- It can be challenging for older people to lift heavy weights and run constantly on a treadmill with sore and stiff joints. In such cases, an ideal workout and exercise program in the form of water exercises can prove beneficial for muscles and joints.
- Water has multiple benefits and can be a boon for people with arthritis in many ways. Let us look at some of them:
- Water is a buoyant liquid. It supports your body in a manner without pressurizing your joints, so you can exercise smoothly.
- Exercising in warm water or a heated pool gives you an extra advantage of warmth, which helps to calm down muscles and soothe sore joints.
- While practicing swimming or moving in the water, a resistance is automatically built up and provides a good workout for the strength of your muscles without lifting heavy weights.
Multiple Ways to Practice Water Exercises:
1# Taking a Swim
Exercising in normal or warm water can provide you with a deeper sense of relaxation and there are multiple ways to practice exercising in water. The most common and a healthy practice is swimming laps. Swimming laps is an effective workout and performing the exercise for a complete hour can help you burn more than 470 calories. But it is rather unsafe on the first dive to practice swimming laps more often and for longer duration. One can initially start with just one or two laps and gradually practice, till endurance is built sufficiently.
2# Water Aerobics Class
Specific water exercise programs are meant for people with arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation and several other organizations avail special aquatic classes taken by certified instructors and can be adopted a few times in a week. The programs are beneficial for all age groups and designed to adapt to all fitness levels and include basic exercises suitable to treat sore joints of patients with arthritis.
3# Walking in Water
Walking, altogether is a good exercise and practicing it daily can help provide flexibility to your muscles and bones, allowing free movement. Walking in water is relaxing and puts limited affect on joints lowering pressure on the bones. Water is known to exert 12 times more resistance than air, thereby, walking in water is a great workout for the muscles without putting an extra effort to walk on the ground.
While walking in water, we need to follow the same technique from top to bottom we use for walking on the land. One can add lighter weights to increase the quality and intensity of the workout. It is recommended to wear a flotation belt for precaution.
4# Temperature of Water
Patients with arthritis find warm water soothing and relaxing for the joints, but the temperature of water should not be too high to cause burns. A temperature of say, 83 Degree Fahrenheit (28 Degree Celsius) to 88 Degree Fahrenheit (31 Degree Celsius) is the optimum for exercising in water. The temperature will ease your workout regime without making you sweat much.
While sitting in a hot tub, ensure to maintain a temperature not more than 104 Degree Fahreinheit (40 Degree Celsius), and it is advisable to get out of the water after about 10 to 15 minutes.
Arthritis leads to swelling in the joints, so getting an appropriate treatment depends on reduce the quantum of pain you are experiencing and protect the joints from additional pressure or damage. Thus, one need to explore the kind of methods suitable in terms of limiting the pain and injury. Some patients are likely to use heating pads or ice packs to provide relief. Others depend on additional devices to help with mobility like canes, or walkers, to divert the pressure off sore joints. However, there are a variety of methods to improve joint functions and one may like to seek a doctor’s advice before switching on to the treatment directly.
(Written by Shivani Priyam, Sub Editor, Onlymyhealth)
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