Older adults with arthritis are advised to remain active and find ways to exercise despite their condition. Exercising in water is an activity they might consider. For decades, athletes have taken advantage of the soothing warmth of pools to recover from injury or to train. Performing movements while in water has the following benefits.
1. Increases Buoyancy
When in waist-deep water, the body only bears 50 percent of an individual’s total body weight. When the water is chest deep, weight bearing is reduced to between 35 and 25 percent. Joints that might normally feel discomfort when standing on dry land are under less stress in the water, which enables greater movement. As being in a pool interferes with gravity’s effect on the body, blood circulation also increases.
Older adults who need help managing the symptoms of arthritis can benefit from professional in-home care. A Centennial caregiver can help your elderly loved one manage his or her health in a variety of ways. If your loved one needs encouragement to exercise more often, eat healthier foods, or socialize on a regular basis, an in-home caregiver can address these and many other health-related concerns.
2. Provides Soothing Warmth
The water temperature of pools is typically between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, which allows muscles and joints to warm up quickly to prevent injury. The warmth also encourages muscle and joint relaxation, which makes movement easier while reducing discomfort. Seniors with arthritis can take advantage of soothing warmth and increase their overall range of motion, which may not be otherwise possible when out of the water.
3. Boosts Muscle Strength
The resistance water creates is 12 times greater than that of air. Regardless of which way a senior moves in the pool, the muscles and joints are challenged by the resistance. The force applied against all areas of the body while moving in water naturally strengthens the muscle fibers. Exercising in water provides a workout similar to using weights or performing isometric routines, but without the stress joints might normally endure.
Seniors with arthritis may need help exercising. Some seniors need occasional assistance at home, and oftentimes the family members who take care of them need time away to run errands, take a nap, go to work, or take a vacation. Centennial, Colorado, respite care experts from Home Care Assistance are available on an as-needed basis, giving your family peace of mind that your loved one will remain safe and comfortable while you relax or focus on other important responsibilities.
4. Burns Calories
Performing movements in water can burn up to 300 calories in 30 minutes. On land, running burns up to 250 calories in the same length of time. The deeper the water, the more calories burned. Water aerobics, swimming, or other water-based activities have the potential for helping seniors maintain a current healthy weight or lose excess weight. Carrying more weight than is recommended for an older adult’s height and body type adds extra stress on weight-bearing joints, which creates more discomfort when living with arthritis.
5. Benefits Spinal Arthritis
Pool exercise is especially helpful for older adults living with osteoarthritis of the spine. This condition develops anywhere from the neck to the lower back. The cartilage between the joints start deteriorating, which creates inflammation and pain whether sitting, standing, or ambulating. The buoyancy and warmth of the water in a pool offers a great deal of relief from discomfort. Seniors with spinal osteoarthritis describe being in a swimming pool as gaining floating traction. The environment enables the joints to relax, loosen, and flex while relieving inflammation and pain.
Engaging in aquatic exercise is just one of the many ways older adults can ease arthritis symptoms and enjoy a high quality of life. Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust in Centennial, Colorado, home care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life. To hire a professional caregiver for your aging loved one, call Home Care Assistance at (303) 957-3100 today.