Joint pain can be enough to put anyone off exercise; after all, plenty of traditional workouts will only put added pressure on the joints and tendons, producing short-term pain and possibly making the problem worse over time. But there are still exercises you can do that can help prevent pain, improve mobility, and increase your current level of fitness.
One of the best is swimming – here are just four ways it can help people who suffer from joint pain.
- Improved Muscle Tone
Most exercises focus on one part of the body, but swimming works you all over. You’ll need your arms, back, and legs to propel yourself forward, and your core needs to twist through each movement. It’s not the right exercise if you want bulging biceps, but it’s ideal if you want to tone up the muscles. By strengthening the muscles around your joints, you’ll take some pressure off the joints themselves, and you’ll find yourself better able to stay mobile. Working those muscles also serves to maintain healthy bone strength.
- Reduced Weight
It’s a good idea for anyone suffering from joint pain to make sure they aren’t carrying any excess weight. Unfortunately, it becomes harder to stay trim when you aren’t as able to walk around or carry anything heavy. Swimming builds muscle, which helps your body burn more calories throughout the day, and it’s an excellent way to improve your cardiovascular fitness.
- Low Impact
Probably the most important benefit of swimming for those with joint pain is that practically no impact is experienced. When you run, walk, or even cycle, the joints come under pressure. When you swim, there aren’t any sharp impacts to worry about – instead, you’re working against the constant and steady resistance of the surrounding water. It’s also impossible to fall and hurt yourself while you’re in water.
- Soothing Heat
If you’re going to go swimming, look for a heated pool. The heat will promote healthy circulation and help sooth your muscles, loosening them up to reduce the pressure placed on your joints. It’s the same benefit you’ll enjoy from a nice warm bath, only with the added benefit of exercise.