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Fit Tip: Bad Joints? Go For A Swim


Dive in, dunk under or take a dip! However you want to call it, swimming is a great way to get a good workout, especially if you have arthritis or bad joints. Water places upward force on a person – better known as “buoyancy” – which means you can be unweighted by 90 percent in the water up to neck level. Thus, this phenomenon makes pool time the perfect low-impact activity for those who suffer pain during land-based exercises.

If you think water workouts are too “easy,” think again. Thirty minutes swimming laps burns 372 calories for a 155-pound person, according to Harvard Health. That’s the same as running at a 10-minute mile pace! And if you’re water jogging, that’s 282 calories a half hour.

Buoyancy Benefits

So what exactly does swimming bring to the table?

  • Strong calorie burn
  • Joint ease
  • Improves posture, balance and flexibility
  • Increases strength and muscle tone through the natural resistance of water
  • Reduces the risk of overheating during exercise
  • Lessens pain and increases range of motion

Pump Up Your Pool Time

Whether you sign up for a health club class or create a program in a local pool, there are many toys you can use to make your water workouts more fun and effective. If you are exercising in the shallow water, we suggest water shoes to protect your feet and improve your stability. Depending on your workout, you also can include:

  • Kickboards
  • Flippers
  • Resistance bands 
  • “Noodles” (Long, thin Styrofoam tubes that keep you afloat)
  • Medicine balls (Yes, they float and are a great way to add resistance. Use them with a partner for even more fun.)

Whether you hit up the lap pool at your health club or make a splash in the shallow end, both are low-impact ways to get a great burn!

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