Living With Arthritis? These Exercises Can Help
Living with arthritis is not only painful, but it can be frustrating. You may even feel like you’re missing out on life.
For some people, the chronic and acute pain caused by arthritis can keep them from their favorite activities. The good news is we have exercises that can help. These exercises can relieve the pain and stiffness arthritis causes.
Using hot tub hot water therapy for arthritis relief lets you use the heat and massage to relax your joints while also building your strength and improving your flexibility.
Hopefully, the hot tub can help get you moving again with these gentle exercises.
Why Does Hot Water Help?
The moist heat provided by a hot tub can relieve arthritis pain and stiffness. When you immerse yourself in warm water, not only do you relieve pain, but you make exercise easier.
The warm water supports you, while the resistance of the water helps you get stronger.
In addition, warm water exercise helps improve your blood flow which in turn helps with your joint flexibility.
Do make sure you have a bottle of water with you during your soak. You want to stay hydrated the way you would with any exercise regimen. Drink some water before your soak, during, and after. This also helps you avoid overheating.
Before You Start Working Out
Please check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. Once you have the ok, remember to start gently.
It’s also important to find the right water temperature in your hot tub. You may want to set it on the low end at 100° F to start. In addition, you can also enter your hot tub in stages, so you warm up slowly. You want to give your body time to adjust to the warm temperature.
Once you are fully immersed in the water, take time to fully stretch before you start exercising.
Your Hot Tub Stretches
All exercises should begin with stretching your body. Then, you can begin your hot tub exercises based on what type of arthritis you have and what joints are affected.
When first starting out stretching, you may not be able to fully extend your arms, legs, or other body parts. Don’t push it. You will get there. You don’t want to push too hard or too fast.
Here is a list of some stretches you can begin with.
- Stretch your hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders. Interlace your fingers with your palms facing toward you. Rotate your palms away from you and push your arms outward as far as you comfortably can. Hold and count to twenty. Take a few deep breaths and repeat two more times.
- Put one hand behind the elbow of your opposite arm and extend that arm to its full length. Swing the outstretched arm toward the opposite shoulder and then toward your chest. You can also twist from your waist in the direction of your 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 hands underneath one of your thighs behind the knee. Keep 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 and placing 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 the stretches until you feel very limber. This is a personal preference, and there is no set time limit. Once you release each stretch, you want to feel a sense of relaxation in your muscles.
Stretching is great for people with arthritis, so don’t skip this vital activity.
Hot Tub Exercises
The best part of exercising in water is that the buoyancy of the water takes the pressure off your joints as you exercise. Then, when you strengthen your muscles around the joints, you minimize joint stress. This helps you better absorb shock as you move throughout your day.
These are gentle exercises that help you build your strength gradually. You can use the water as resistance to help you do this.
Do these exercises from Hot Spring Spas daily to help provide pain relief.
- Extend your arms out to your sides until your upper body forms a T-shape. Rotate your shoulders forward so that 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 seat, and 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.
Do these exercises as a circuit and repeat them two or three times. You can also add more exercises as you get stronger. This is your journey, so please work at your own pace.
You’ll find that once you make this routine a daily part of your life that living with arthritis may become easier. Remember that improving and pain relief is a gradual process.
Be patient and stay the course. Consistency over a period of time is key.
If you don’t have a hot tub, come see us today. We can help you find one that fits your needs and your budget while also helping to relieve your arthritis pain.