Beating The Heat While Soothing The Swelling

joint pain - beat the heatSummer is in full swing, and of course, with summer comes swimming. Cheers for that! But depending upon where you live, with summer comes humidity, and with humidity comes increased joint pain. Jeers for that!

Scientists aren’t quite sure why certain weather and environmental conditions adversely affect some health afflictions. According to WebMD, one theory is “…that people with joint pain, especially arthritis, may be sensitive to changes in barometric pressure.” In addition to humidity and barometric pressure, other factors that are believed to negatively impact aches and pains include precipitation and temperature.

There exists a Digital Arthritis Index (DAI), and even an Arthritis Weather Index where you can see how the current weather in your area is forecasted with respect to impact on arthritis pain!

All right..bookmark us via this link right now before you check out the arthritis index for your own location…we’ll wait for you to come back because we aren’t done sharing the good stuff with you yet…

Now that you can “wow” all your friends with the arthritis index predictions for your area, let’s dip back into swimming, or, at least into swimming pools! Aquatic exercises are some of the most low-impact options to help keep inflammation at bay and joints moving as smoothly as possible.

According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), while in water, your body can feel the equivalent of up to 90% lighter than your actual body mass. Keep in mind, your weight can change based upon your environment, while your mass stays the same no matter what, even in water, and even on the moon!

The buoyancy factor can emulate the feeling of near weightlessness, and therefore, allows exercising to feel easier, and literally puts less stress on the joints, causing less joint pain. The added bonus is that you still reap the physical benefits of the exercise, regardless of the fact that you feel lightweight while engaging in the activities.

On the flip side, water provides more resistance than air, so walking in water takes more effort than typical walking; that difference in resistance can be a factor of more than tenfold, and therefore promotes muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness.

It is a trifecta win-win-win situation where aquatics can provide the low-stress movement needed for soothing those inflamed sore joints, the activity needed to help strengthen weak muscles, and finally, the cardio training needed to improve endurance and overall heart health. Just be aware that pool water for aquatics exercise tends to be warmer than other pool water; in addition, it can be difficult to recognize when you are sweating while in water, so as always, stay hydrated!

And now, enough of the science. Let’s get moving…in the pool! Below we have outlined aquatic therapy options that can be scalable for the young and spry or the “seasoned” senior, the inexperienced or the athlete, the one who prefers a leisurely group setting for socialization while exercising or the one who has little time and needs a quick solo solution. Most water exercises can be easily adapted with weights, pool noodles, kickboards, floatation devices, etc.

  • Water Walking
  • Water Jogging
  • Arm Raises
  • Leg Balances
  • Hip Kickers
  • Swimming Laps
  • Water Bicycle
  • Knee Lifts
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Lunges

You can find instructions, guidelines, and more information for these and more water exercises here:

*Bonus! If you are looking for a group class in your area, check out the Arthritis Resource Finder within the Arthritis Foundation Aquatics page.

Whether you plan to exercise in your own pool, a friend’s, a public pool, or are looking for a local group class in your area, any step you take is progress forward, so get out there and make a splash today!

NOTE: Content included here is not medical advice, and only is intended as information for adults. Always consult with your health care professional before making changes to diet, exercise, medication, or before use of any product or device.