The Benefits of Exercise for Arthritis
Arthritis affects many people all over the world. If you’re living with, you may feel constantly overwhelmed. The chronic and acute pain of having arthritis may keep you from exercising. And sometimes the pain is unbearable whether you’re up and moving around or when you’re lying down.
In this article, we look at the benefits of exercise for arthritis. Exercise can help with pain and stiffness. If you’re reading this and thinking exercise sounds way too painful, we may have the answer.
Soaking and exercising in your hot tub can relieve the pain in your joints. You can exercise as the water supports you, and the heat relaxes your joints. You can improve your flexibility and gain strength using hot tub therapy. In your hot tub, you can customize your daily exercise routine combo of soaking, stretching, and gentle exercise.
How Moist Heat Helps
Moist heat can safely and effectively relieve arthritis pain and stiffness.
You can get this type of heat from your very own hot tub. That is exactly the sort of heat a hot tub provides.
You may find that hot water immersion can relieve some of your arthritis pain. By soaking in the hot tub, your exercise session may even be easier.
You’ll find that the buoyancy of the water supports you. What’s more, the resistance of the water helps you get stronger.
Soaking in a hot tub with a bit of exercise is a great way to start your day or finish it!
Hot Tub Exercises for You
Now it’s time to look at some hot tub exercises. When you begin, be patient with yourself. Make sure you stretch before and after you exercise. And always check with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.
Start with these stretches:
- Once you’re in your hot tub, it’s time to stretch your hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders.
- Lace your fingers together with your palms facing toward you. Rotate your palms away from you and push your arms outward as far as you comfortably can. Hold to the count of twenty. Take a few deep breaths and repeat twice more.
- Place one hand behind the elbow of your opposite arm and extend that arm to its full length. Swing the outstretched arm toward its opposite shoulder and then in toward your chest. Optionally, you can also twist from your waist in the direction of the bent arm. Hold for twenty seconds. This stretches your upper and lower back. Release and repeat with the other side.
- While seated in a seat or lounge in the hot tub, place both of your hands underneath one of your thighs behind the knee. Keeping your back straight and tall, bring your knee as close to your chest as you can and hold for as long as you are comfortably able. Then, slowly release and repeat with the other leg.
- Stretch your ankles and feet by stretching your legs out toward a wall of the hot tub. Place your feet up against it. Gently push against the side with your toes until only the very tips of your toes are making contact and hold for a count of twenty. Release, wiggle your toes in the water, and repeat once or twice more.
You can repeat these stretches until you feel ready to start exercising. Do these stretches gently. Ultimately, your body should feel relaxed and stretched after you are done. You don’t want to feel pain.
Work on these exercises:
- For arm circles, extend your arms out to your sides until your upper body forms a T-shape. Rotate your shoulders forward so your arms make gentle circles, dipping into the water with each rotation. Continue for 30 seconds, take a few deep breaths in between, and then reverse directions for another thirty seconds.
- Sit up straight on the edge of a hot tub seat, bend your elbows so that your forearms are at your sides and parallel to the bottom of the spa. Let your hands extend flat so your palms face the hot tub floor. Push your hands down until your fingertips point toward the bottom of the spa, and, keeping your hands extended, bring them back up to the starting position with forearms parallel to the floor. Slowly, do ten to fifteen repetitions.
- With your shoulders submerged, extend your arms straight out to your sides with your hands extended. Swing one arm out straight in front of you and continue the movement until your fingertips come to meet your other hand—or as close as you are able. Slowly, unfold that straight arm back out to its starting position, and do the same with the other arm. Do ten to fifteen repetitions on each arm. Notice how, if you keep your thumbs always pointing up, you experience greater water resistance as your open hands push against the water.
- Exercise your legs and abdominals with underwater flutter kicks. While seated, keep your legs underwater and extend them straight out. Do your best to keep them straight as you kick them one at a time as if you were swimming. Maintain these kicks for 30 seconds or until you become tired.
- Bicycle crunches start off in the same position as flutter kicks. With both legs straight out from your seat, bend one leg and bring the knee in toward your chest as far as you are able. Return it slowly to straight and do the same with the other leg. Counting both leg movements as a single crunch, do ten to fifteen repetitions.
Final Thoughts on the Magic of Water
Make the most of your hot tub stretches and exercises. They are a great way to use the power of warm water hydrotherapy and the natural resistance of water to stretch and build strength.
Use the exercises as a circuit. As you feel able, work up to two or three sets of the exercises. Remember that you are unique, and it’s important to listen to your body. If anything is painful, stop, and talk to your doctor.
Finally, improving arthritis pain and health is a gradual process that takes patience and requires doing range-of-motion exercises like stretching every day. Do the strength-building exercises every other day. Don’t forget to drink water as you work through these stretches and exercises – hydration is important!
Tailor your exercise routine to how you feel on any given day. It may be beneficial for gradual arthritis relief to make time as often as possible for hot tub exercises. Set yourself up for success — a Hot Spring® spa at home is ready when you are.
If you don’t have a hot tub, we’d love to talk with you today! Stop by, call, or text, and let us help you find the perfect hot tub for your budget and your needs!