I Have Arthritis: Is There a Workout for Me?

If you suffer from arthritis, and struggle to find an effective workout that is easy on your joints, a water workout might be the perfect solution.

“When you’re in water you have buoyancy, and because of the buoyancy, gravity doesn’t have the same effect on your joints,” says Karen Sims, an athletic trainer at the TriHealth Fitness and Health Pavilion. “You can do things in the water that aren’t going to hurt your joints.”

Water Properties and Your Arthritis:

A water workout can take the pressure off your joints so you can do more physical activity. If you suffer from arthritis, specifically in your knees or hips, walking on a treadmill might be too painful, or nearly impossible. 

“In the water, the same person who is unable to walk on a treadmill, might be able to walk for an extended time, and possibly even do some jogging because they have buoyancy and assistance,” Karen notes. “When you’re in a pool, you can jog and do all kinds of things that mimic the exercises you would do on the fitness floor with equipment, while getting the same benefits.”

Effectiveness of Water Workouts:

Water is a versatile thing to introduce into your workout to keep it fresh and challenging, while still allowing you to go at your own pace. “Water is a great place to combine cardio and strengthening,” Karen says. “The faster you go through the water, the more resistance you experience — allowing for a total body workout.” 

Health Benefits of Water Workouts:

For those who suffer from arthritis, the benefits of water workouts go far beyond the physical aspects, including:

  • Better sleep
  • Decreased fatigue
  • Increased endorphin release to help improve mood

“Because there’s a lot of depression for people with chronic conditions, endorphin release is important to help maintain a healthy mood,” Karen explains. “The limitations in daily activities are not present in the pool, allowing them to feel normal, and experience a healthy psychological benefit.” 

While pools, especially warm water, will not cure arthritis, they do have soothing properties. Karen explains that the problem for people who suffer from arthritis, or any chronic condition, is that they’re limited with their exercise abilities, but the pool allows them to exercise without having to be done for the rest of the day; they can have a more normal life.

Tags: Orthopedics, Wellness and Fitness

Last Updated: March 30, 2014