The Benefits of Swimming for People with Arthritis

Arthritis Swimming Exercises

If you suffer from arthritis, you know the daily struggle of battling stiffness, joint pain, and a decrease in range of motion. Perhaps you've tried exercising as it's important for joint flexibility but have stopped because it's too painful. Fortunately, not all types of exercises are painful for people with arthritis.

One of the most effective exercises for arthritis is swimming.

Here's what you need to know about the benefits of swimming and water exercises for improving the uncomfortable symptoms of arthritis.

Is Swimming Good for Arthritis?

Yes. There are even several reasons why swimming is an ideal exercise for arthritis.

  • Swimming makes your joints more flexible, while increasing your range of motion.
  • The buoyancy of water reduces the impact on your joints, making swimming a low-impact exercise. As water supports up to 90 percent of your body weight, your joints barely receive any stress. As a result, joint movement is virtually painless.
  • Moving in water is a good way to stimulate blood circulation to frozen joints and stiff muscles.
  • When you swim or exercise in water, your muscles are forced to work harder as water is 12 times more resistant than air although you don't feel the impact.

Swimming Strokes To Do for Arthritis

The three main swimming strokes you can do include the breaststroke, the front crawl and the backstroke.  

  • The breaststroke works by pulling back your shoulders as it strengthens the back muscles.
  • The front crawl is the one that's recommended the most for people with arthritis. This stroke involves the neck and body being extended, while allowing the spine to gently rotate while doing the stroke.
  • The backstroke is used for strengthening the shoulder muscles and back muscles that give support to the spine.

Swimming Alternative Aquatic Exercises for Arthritis

Besides swimming, there are other types of exercises you can do in the pool that can help relieve joint pain. Water aerobics not only help your joints, but they also improve painful back conditions. Aquatic exercise includes:

  • Water-walking—Even just walking around in a pool can be beneficial for your joints.
  • You can walk in shallow water to see some effects. However, to improve your posture, walk in chin-deep water.
  • Even kicking your legs back and forth in a pool can help in relieving joint pain.
  • Aqua-jogging (running in water) is a perfect exercise for reducing weight on your joints.
  • Aqua aerobics, which is aerobics in water, is typically done in waist deep water and involves the lower body, upper body and mid-section.
  • The deeper you go in the water, the more intense your workout.
  • Lifting your knees higher can also make your workout more intense.

Arthritic Swimming Considerations and Warnings

  • Another perk of swimming and water exercise is that you can feel both physically and mentally stimulated.
  • Regular swimming can actually lower the likelihood of developing arthritis because it helps maintain a person's normal joint structure and joint strength. Thus, it's not only an exceptional exercise for people who already have arthritis, but it can be effective in preventing the disease.
  • To get the most benefit out of your aquatic exercise, enroll in a water aerobics class that includes a trained instructor. In addition to improving your joints, you can also meet other people, increase flexibility, strength your muscles and burn calories!
  • If you have a pool at home, don't forget to do the aquatic exercises you've learned in class. 
  • Exercising to music can make your water workout even more enjoyable.
  • Before a water aerobics workout, be sure to warm up your body by doing some arm movements or walking in the pool.
  • Don't feel like you have to swim fast for your arthritic symptoms to improve because even slow swimming or moderate water exercises can be beneficial in relieving painful joints.
  • Be careful not to over exercise to the point where your joints are sore, and you feel fatigued.
  • Always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

Many people with arthritis are finding relief by swimming and working out in a Renaissance fiberglass pool. To learn more about our wide range of products, please come by one our Las Vegas showrooms. With locations in Las Vegas and Henderson, our business serves most of Clark County as well as Southern Nevada.