Swimming For Arthritis: Why You Should Do It

Swimming is a great exercise for multiple reasons. But one of the main reasons doctors recommend swimming to almost everyone is that it's one of the few low-impact sports available. You won't have as high a risk of injury as a few other exercises/sports.

In today’s article, we discuss why swimming can be a great workout for arthritis and why you should swim regularly if you’ve been diagnosed with rheumatoid or osteoarthritis.

Top reasons why swimming is great for reducing arthritis symptoms?

Swimming increases blood flow in your fingers, toes and joints

Swimming is excellent for improving circulation in your body. As you swim, the blood flows into the joints, fingers and toes which have swollen up or are painful, due to arthritis. The circulation reduces this inflammation and pain.

Swimming helps with weight loss, which reduces stress and pain in your joints

Body weight can add excessive strain on swollen and painful joints. When you swim, you lose between 400 and 700 calories in a single hour, helping you shed weight very quickly. This reduces the burden your arthritic joints need to carry, preventing your condition from worsening.

Swimming helps sustain mobility

Other forms of exercise like walking, running and cycling can have an immense impact on the knees, elbows and other joints prone to arthritic pain and inflammation. When you do these activities, they become unsustainable after some time, as they may increase your arthritic symptoms. You may find yourself unable to move sometimes, because of the severity of the pain and swelling.

 But when you swim, your body doesn’t hit the pavement or pedal. The buoyancy of the water keeps you afloat and you don’t have to put all your weight on your weak and hurting joints. This way, swimming allows you to be mobile always.

Swimming strengthens your muscles

Swimming, unlike most other exercises and sports, is a full-body workout. It engages various muscle groups in the body – which include both major muscles and micro muscles. The repeated movements of the swim strokes help engage and strengthen the core, the back and the glutes, among other areas of your body. You’ll notice that as your muscular strength increases, your arthritis doesn’t make you feel as weak and unsteady as it did before.

Swimming increases your range of motion

There are different strokes that you can use when swimming. In particular, doctors recommend that people with arthritis do backstroke more often than other swim strokes. This is because backstroke lengthens your joints, helping them become more flexible and increasing circulation. Plus, it works and strengthens your shoulder, elbow, wrist and knee joints, helping you alleviate severe arthritic symptoms.

Swimming works your cardiovascular system

Swimming might look easy, but it can get your heart pumping quickly – which is good news especially when you have rheumatoid arthritis. By improving your cardiovascular health, swimming can keep you safe and healthy.

Swimming is the safest choice after arthritis surgery

Swimming is very gentle on the body. The water offers only a gentle resistance, which doesn’t hurt patients who’ve undergone surgery for their arthritis. If you’re careful with how you care for your stitches, swimming can be an incredibly healing and helpful way that hastens your recovery.

5 best water-based exercises for arthritic patients

But what if you don’t know how to swim or maybe your arthritis is very severe and holds you back from swimming? What then?

 Well, in that case, you can still get into the water and use the water’s natural buoyancy to help you exercise in a safe and low-impact manner. The only thing that’s different, is that instead of swimming, you’ll need to adopt one of the following activities:

Water walking/jogging

Water walking and/or jogging mimics the motion of conventional land walking and jogging, but without the high impact that comes with land-based exercise. In a shallow pool, you’ll be guided to walk a few steps forward and backward, jog in place or run a short lap. The idea is to use the gentle resistance and natural buoyancy of the pool water to help increase mobility in your knees and shoulders, while also building some endurance.

Our Lap Pools are great for water walking and jogging! Check them out here!

Water-based resistance training

Resistance training is done to help strengthen certain isolated muscles and joints. It also tones your joints and muscles and reduces the likelihood of injury. Typically, paddle boards, pull buoys and other swimming equipment are used to help you practice a specific stroke or hand position or movement that’s done against the water’s natural flow. Over time, you won’t feel as weak as before.

Water yoga

Water yoga is a new type of exercise that is getting popular these days. Doing soothing yoga exercises in the water can help alleviate pains and inflammation faster. Plus, yoga in the swimming pool can be cathartic for the mind as well, helping arthritic patients feel less stressed.

Water aerobics

Water aerobics is a more upbeat workout compared to water yoga. The goal here is both flexibility and strengthening of the arthritic joints. Water aerobics can be a great addition when your arthritis symptoms are mild-to-medium in severity. It can be more intensive than water walking and water yoga, making it a great progression workout.

Water-based strength training

If your arthritis symptoms are mild or have seen a steady decline, you may also be advised to start a bit of weight training. Here, you’ll be asked to use very light weights by standing in the water, to strengthen the bones, muscles and joints, which will have experienced wear and tear due to arthritis.

Get your own fibreglass pool constructed by our experts at Fibreglass Pools Melbourne.

When you have arthritis and have been advised to swim or do water-based workouts regularly, it can be very cumbersome to go to the public pool each day. Plus, if you’ve had surgery for your arthritis, your incision site may be vulnerable to infections from using a public pool.

Keep all these threats at bay and swim in the comfort and safety of your own home, with your very own fibreglass pool. At Fibreglass Pools Melbourne, we are reputed pool installation experts in Melbourne. We can build you a fibreglass pool that is accessible, safe and easy to use. Contact us today to discuss your doctor-prescribed swimming exercises, so we can build you the perfect pool that’ll help manage and alleviate arthritis symptoms.