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Is Pool Exercise Good for Arthritis?

It’s estimated that one in four Americans suffer from arthritis. That’s more than 54 million people. More than half of all working age Americans have been reported to exhibit symptoms of arthritis. The direct medical costs total more than $140 billion dollars per year. That doesn’t include the effect on productivity and the gross domestic product. Most forms of arthritis are associated with weight issues and obesity. For this and many other reasons, low impact exercise is seen as a good way to mitigate the effects of arthritis. Therefore, is pool exercise good for arthritis? In this article, we’ll explain many of the advantages of utilizing a swimming pool for exercise.

What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis describes an array of conditions that affect joints and the soft tissues surrounding the joints. Inflammation of these tissues is usually responsible for causing pain and stiffness of the joints and the surrounding areas. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, which is signified by the breakdown of cartilage between the bones, and rheumatoid arthritis in which the immune system attacks the linings of the joints. Other types of arthritis include gout, lupus fibromyalgia, different types of spondylosis and more. The common factor among all these conditions is joint pain.

Why Exercising in a Swimming Pool Is Beneficial?

Water has many unique properties that allow it to be an ideal medium for exercise by sufferers of arthritis. Because water creates buoyant conditions for the body, the weight-bearing load is relieved from the joints and allows exercise to be performed without causing more damage. Water reduces the amount of impact experienced by the joints allowing movements that would be impossible on land.

Water also creates a resistant force which improves balance and reduces the chance of injury due to falling. For those who have equilibrium issues, a swimming pool is an ideal place to exercise. Add that to the fact that water resists only as much as it is forced, and you have a customized tension that won’t overpower your natural strength.

Different temperatures of water can also be used for therapeutic purposes. Cold water has been known to reduce swelling, while warm water can be used to increase range of motion and alleviate pain. Adjusting the water temperature accordingly is key to the ideal underwater workout.


Swimming is a great exercise for sufferers of arthritis because weight is lifted off the joints, the body is extended, elongated and stretched out and the body’s posture becomes transformed. Swimming is also good for burning calories and helping control the body’s weight which plays a significant role in pain caused by arthritis. Swimming works several different muscle groups at the same time while still being able to be tailored to your specific issues.


Aerobics done on dry land are great for raising the heart rate, burning calories and increasing the pace of breathing. But they can also be very high impact and hard on the joints and bones. By moving your aerobic routine into the swimming pool, you can reap all the benefits of an aerobic workout without the negatives created by impact issues. 

Jogging and Walking

Similar to dry land aerobic exercises, jogging and walking are good for burning calories and increasing respiration rates. However, they can produce reverberations that are terrible for inflamed joints in the lower parts of the body. By performing the same exercises in the water you’re able to experience the positives without the negatives. Water-resistance also provides a tougher workout while protecting you from falls.

Arthritis Exercise Classes

As arthritis becomes more common, exercise classes designed specifically for its sufferers have become more popular. Most often these classes take place in heated swimming pools to help alleviate and soothe joint pain. The exercises are created to improve flexibility, reduce stiffness, improve range of motion and control weight. Check around your community to see if these types of classes are available to you.

To find out more about using your swimming pool for exercise, download a free buyer’s guide today.

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