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By Mark Grevelding, founder and creator of PoolFit
According to the Arthritis Foundation, there are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions. More than 50 million adults have some type of arthritis; it is the leading cause of disability in America. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness. Genetics, aging, obesity, diet, injury and lack of exercise can all contribute to arthritis. Sedentary lifestyles and a lack of movement are the leading causes of arthritis as people age. Therefore, exercise is universally recommended for people who suffer from arthritis or want to prevent it.
The human body is largely made up of synovial joints located where the bones are connected. Synovial fluid is found in the cavity of these joints, and a lack of movement prevents this fluid from dispersing and lubricating the joint. Without movement and lubrication, the joints lose function over time and become stiffer and more prone to injury and inflammation. Inflammation translates into pain, and joint stiffness can make an individual more prone to injuries and falls.
Throughout our lifespan, we tend to default into repetitive movement patterns due to our work and lifestyle. Daily activities are not enough to move a joint through its full range of motion to maintain optimal elasticity. For example, the hip and shoulder joints are ball-and-socket joints and allow the greatest range of motion, a full 360 degrees. However, we seldom walk around performing hip and shoulder circles, diagonals, spirals and other types of 360-degree movement. Over time, this causes us to lose range of motion in the joint and leads to pain and stiffness that gets worse as we age.
Preventing and Exercising with Troublesome Joints
Good news! There is a solution. Participating in planned exercise activities that move your joints through their full range of motion provides arthritis relief and helps keep your joints healthy. As a training specialist with the Arthritis Foundation’s Aquatic and Exercise Programs, I now include arthritis exercises in all of my fitness classes, including cardio, high-intensity interval training, deep-water fitness and more. Why? Because these are the best exercises for moving joints through their full range of motion.
Studies show that water fitness is especially beneficial for arthritis because the buoyancy of water lessens stress on joints, allowing for an increased range of motion and a more confident fitness experience. Additionally, the joints are submerged in the water’s resistance, which builds muscular strength and improves joint integrity.
Don’t let joint pain and stiffness impair your daily activities and quality of life. Consider participating in fitness activities, such as arthritis classes that are intended to improve joint range of motion. Properly designed exercise can be like medicine for your joints, helping you move better, feel better and live better.
About the Author
Mark Grevelding is the founder of PoolFit, the only workout platform that specializes in water fitness and aquatic exercise. PoolFit’s on-demand exercise video platform and app provides nearly 100 water exercise workouts and low impact, in-home fitness programs, including arthritis exercises. He is a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for the Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) and American Council on Exercise (ACE). To learn more about PoolFit or subscribe for 30 days of free water fitness workouts, please visit www.poolfit.tv.