Aquatic exercises for osteoarthritis joint pain management
Working out is generally the last thing on your mind when you suffer from joint pain. However, a more exciting way to workout is aquatic exercises or water therapy. It is one of the more unconventional forms of joint pain management in India, mostly due to infrastructural limitations. However, it is one of the most sough-after methods for joint pain management across the world.
One of the main reasons it is so popularly sought after as a therapy for joint pain management is because it isn’t just a great alternative for seniors, but an apt form of exercise for people of all ages suffering from joint pain.
So, why is water therapy touted to be one of the best ways to ease joint pain? First, the buoyancy of water supports your joints. Unlike land exercises which can impact and injure your joints, water exercises reduce this impact. It decreases the risk of stress on the joints and allows the synovial fluid or cartilage to carry nutrients to the surface of the joints. Depending on the degree of immersion in water, the weight of a human body is reduced by almost 90percent. Exercising in warm water also improves blood circulation and decreases joint inflammation.
Second, water exercises offer resistance which help strengthen the muscles. It also helps to reduce the risk of injury or falling as compared to exercises done on land. Third, aquatic exercises or aqua therapy also helps improve flexibility and range of motion. Flexibility is defined by the use of soft tissues in the body which are the stabilizers of the musculoskeletal system. These tissues need to be stretched consistently for a better range of motion. This is done easily during aquatic exercises thanks to the buoyancy of water which reduces the weight on the joints allowing them to stretch better.
Some aquatic exercises that can be done are: –
Water walking – This is a low-impact exercise that helps you work on stability and balance. It also strengthens the upper thigh muscles and is best for those recuperating from joint injuries or pain. Water walking backwards too helps with osteoarthritis pain as it works some of the quadriceps muscles which in turn strengthen the knees.
Flutter kicks – This exercise is ideal to improve flexibility as it makes use of the hip muscles, buttocks and the core muscles. It is one of the best aquatic exercises to achieve stronger legs because it activates your thighs. It also works the back muscles thus bringing relief from back pain.
Leg swings – If you are experiencing tightness in the hips or pain in the legs, this is a perfect aquatic exercise to try. It gives a good stretch to the hip flexors and works the calves, hamstrings and thigh muscles to help alleviate pain in the legs.
Sidestepping – Walking sideways or sidestepping is an aquatic exercise that strengthens different, often underused muscles than what are used to walk ahead or backwards. These underused hip muscles tend to become weak overtime and can be the source of hip pain or pain in the lower limbs.
Water jogging or knee lifts – This is another aquatic exercise that is ideal for strengthening the knee muscles. It not only helps reduce the intensity of joint pain but also stabilizes the knee joints. Apart from this, it increases muscle strength and range of motion and helps curb the advancement of pain.
The benefits of aquatic exercises are many. Not only are they ideal to help with symptomatic relief, they are also a great way to lose weight which eventually reduces pressure on the joints. Given the weightlessness experienced during water based exercises, they are seen as ideal to infuse energy, improve the motivation to work out and improve the quality of life of those suffering from joint pain.
Aqua therapy in India is a niche pain management approach and is best followed under the guidance of professionals. It is one of the best type of workout to try, if you get access to an institution providing the same.
It is important to consult a physician before deciding to take up any form of exercise. Also, to get better relief from joint pain, massaging your joints with an Ayurvedic ingredient based oil like Zandu Ortho Vedic Oil is helpful as it improves blood flow to the joints and reduces overall pain and stiffness. Zandu Ortho Vedic Oil is made with 5 classical oils and over a 100 Ayurvedic ingredients and shows visible improvement in joint pain within 7 days of application.